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what will be there? well, according to a report issued by the associated press, uninsured americans will find a 15-page, 21-step application that will need approval from three separate federal agencies. there are expected to be more than 4 million of these applications next year alone. and even as an advocate of the program says in this same a.p. story, the form will take a considerable amount of time to fill out and will be difficult for many people to be able to complete.s and that part of the process -- quote -- "does not get you to the selection of a plan." close quote. madam president, obamacare is going to make doing your taxes feel like a round of golf. for this reason, there are some who believe the only way to expose obamacare and rescue the health care system is to let nature take its course, to let it go into effect as soon as
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possible. they say the sooner it collapses, the sooner we can repeal it and start over. the gentleman from texas and i and everyone else supporting this amendment rejects that logic. we cannot in good conscience send millions of immigrant americans into a dangerously dysfunctional health care system run by unaccountable if well-intentioned bureaucrats. we will not sacrifice millions of families to prove a political point. people's lives and livelihoods are at stake. the american people are not pawns in washington's partisan political gain. we work for them, not the other way around. as public servants, we have an obligation to protect the american people, those who elected us to serve. obamacare is going to hurt our country, our economy, our constituents, our friends and our neighbors. it is the single greatest threat to our economy and to our health care system. eventually, madam president, obamacare will be repealed. the american people will see the
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damage it does and demand that we scrap it and start over, but for now, we must at least defund it, at least for the life of this continuing resolution for the remainder of this fiscal year. senator cruz and i have been assured this amendment will fail and that obamacare will move ahead as planned. if that is the will of the senate, then so be it, but what obamacare does start to break down, when waiting times start to grow, when costs start to explode, when taxes start to rise, when doctors and nurses start to quit, when hospitals start to close, when businesses start to shutter, when patients and families truly find out what's in this bill, then the american people will know who is responsible for the catastrophe of obamacare and who, like the gentleman from texas, tried to help. madam president, a few years ago when then-speaker of the house nancy pelosi famously told members of the house that you
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have to pass this 2,700-page bill in order to find out what's in it, she perhaps saw what we would be experiencing today or at least some aspect of it, but either way, we today now see what's in what they passed back then. we as members of the senate have had an opportunity to review this piece of legislation over the last few years. we know what economic impacts this law is already having as it it -- its still gnashient implement -- nascient implementation has moved forward. we need to make ourselves accountable to the american people for this law and what we now know is in this law. i therefore respectfully urge each and every one of my colleagues to support this amendment. thank you, madam president. i yield back my time. ms. mikulski: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: madam president, i rise to speak on the cruz
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amendment. as i said, i'm glad senator lee had his chance. as i said, the cruz amendment would prevent the department of health and human services from implementing funding for the discretionary spending aspects of the affordable care act. as the presiding officer knows of the affordable care act so well and played a major part in it when she was a member of the house of representatives, you know that this would be -- have disastrous consequences. its consequence would essentially defund the affordable care act. they call it obamacare. i call it obamacare. as i said earlier, obama does care, and that's why we passed that legislation in the first place. the cruz amendment would issue or enforce -- it means that c.m.s. couldn't do their job to,
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for example, issue regulations on ending gender discrimination. you can say there are all these pages of regulation, but why should you and i pay more for health insurance of men of comparable age and health status? as much as 50% more. it also ends discrimination on the basis of preexisting condition. as the gentlelady from wisconsin knows, in eight states, women were denied health insurance because domestic violence was created -- was deemed a preexisting condition. they were battered in their own home and then they were battered by their insurance agency. what are we doing here? this is not where we go. excuse me. i promised that i wouldn't try to incite. i would try more to inspire, but i feel very strongly and passionately that the cruz amendment should not pass. it should not pass.
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but i'd like to go to what the gentleman himself said. he is for economic growth. put me on that list. he is a pro-growth senator. i want to be on that list, too. i think it's a committee of 100. and what i want him to know is that without a form of health care that provides universal access but insisting on delivery models of reform, we will have a catastrophe, not only at an earned benefit program like medicare but what happens is that if people don't have health insurance, it gets shifted on the other people who do have health insurance and the employers who have the generosity and wherewithal to pay for it. so if we want to be for economic growth, the first thing we need to do is clean up our own act
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here. this is what we need to do here. the politics of frequentship, ultimatum politics, shutdown, showdown, slamdown must end. that's what we're trying to do here. what we're trying to do here is to move legislation so that there is no government shutdown. business doesn't invest in creating jobs because they don't have certainty, they don't have reliability. where is the federal government going? what's it going to do, and how is it going to get its act together so that they can invest, whether it's in their own employees or perhaps bringing money back home from overseas or legally earned profits to put into an infrastructure bank. so if you were pro growth, you want to have health insurance. the two costs that business cannot control are the costs of health care and the cost of
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energy. we can control the impact on reforming the cost of health care through obamacare. now, why do i say that? first of all, if you don't have it, you get sick, you go to the emergency room. you go to the emergency room. do you know what the average cost of an emergency room visit is? $1,000. do you know what a primary care doctor gets? 40d. now, what is wrong with that picture? 40d, not $400 by the time -- time -- $40, not $400 by the time all of it is taken out. i want to bring to your attention a fantastic documentary that was on cnn on sunday night. it was called saving the fire or rushing through the fire. it was a complete two-hour documentary from cnn.
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not some lefty think tank or nothing like the institute of medicine. this was a cnn documentary on the cost of health care and how the system that we have now increases cost but does not increase or improve health comps. i'm not going to argue all those dynamics here today, but if we really want to lower the cost of health care, we want to have president obama and our affordable care act. and this is what business wants. what they don't want is cost shifting, because some people don't have it or because they got it too late in their own situation, the cost is actually greater. the other -- the other side has talked about small business. senator cruz just told this wonderful story about his father, a cuban refugee,
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essentially, who came to this country and because he couldn't speak english, he took a job where it wasn't required, washing dishes. and then here you go in one generation, senator cruz is a senator. i think that's a wonderful personal story. and went on to talk about business. you know, it's a lot like my own family. we came from poland. when we came from poland, it's not because we were rich. we came because we thought that the lady liberty and her shining light really meant something. and my family started small businesses. my grandmother ran one of the best polish bakeries in baltimore. my father had a small grocery store. because of a large family, he left school at the eighth grade, but through his own grit and determination, with my mother at his side, he served a community. over 700 people came to my father's funeral because they loved him as much as -- or in
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their own way as we did. my father, through his grit, determination and working, the same as senator cruz's father, my father worked six days a week, 12 hours a day, and he sent his three daughters to be sure that they had an education post-high school. now, he wanted to have health care. you know what my father was crazy about? social security and blue cross and blue shield. my father couldn't get on social security until the 1950's because small business was excluded. the reason he liked social security was that he worried about my mother and he worried about his girls. he was worried that if he died, would his own insurance -- my father had private insurance. my father was a planner and a provider, a planner and a provider, but he worried would that be enough to do -- to take care of us, so when he was eligible for social security, he said i'll pay my fair share so
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if anything happens, fine, and if nothing happens, i'm glad to pay my fair share. he as a small businessman didn't have access to big markets, but through the maryland grocers association, again in the 1950's, he could come in on blue cross and blue shield. he wanted health insurance for himself, for my mother, for his daughters and also for the few people who worked for him because he knew that you were one financial bankruptcy away if a big illness happened. and what my father faced in the 1950's, america is facing now in 2013. so what does obamacare do? it improves access to 35 million americans without health insurance. it ends the punitive practices of insurance companies, one of which is gender discrimination,
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the other is the existing preexisting condition denials. it also strengthens medicare in a way that actually reduces health costs. data has been releaseed and the last several days that -- in the last several days that actually shows that health care costs are going down. and it's not because of the recession. it's because our reforms are going into place. like the famous checklist developed at johns hopkins university that was quoted in another study, that if you wash your hands and take care of certain things in the o.r., you won't get an infection, and if you don't get an infection, you don't stay in the hospital longer than necessary. i chaired the quality initiatives committee that examined how we could through improving quality could we not only save lives but what it save money, and the answer was a resounding yes. and i didn't make that up.
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they said well, mikulski, you know, you're a social worker, what do you know about health care? it wasn't my idea. i went to learned societies like the institute of medicine that said to err is human, but it's also costly. and i'm not talking about the medical malpractice stuff, infections, returning to admissions to hospitals within ten days or 30 days. because of the way the people are often discharged. the issue of prevention. i'm the author of the so-called preventative amendment that went into the health care bill. and what was that all about? it meant that early detection and screening saves lives. early detection and screening saves lives. that means that if you get your mammogram, if you get your
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p.s.a. test for a man, you are more likely to find this. but it's not only for that dreaded, awful c word, let's take a d word, diabetes. you know, a lot of people walk around and don't know they have diabetes or high blood pressure. both are silent killers. they can result in strokes or death. if you have an undetected diabetes, it can kill you through a coma and other things, but it can also kill you slowly. the consequences of prolonged diabetes could result in the loss of eyesight, the loss of a kidney, diabetic newer on ate where you can't walk, and if you come in so late, other than facing an amputation, wouldn't it be better to find out ten years before and get you into the right program with the right diabetic educator to make sure we not only control your diabetes but we're not paying
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for amputations which is a heartbreak for the family and the person and a budget buster to us. this is what prevention is all about. it's not some gushy-pooh thing, not like a slogan on a cereal box. this is the real deal. if you find certain of these chronic conditions sooner, you can manage their escalation which helps the family and the patient and also helps control our cost. this is what we're talking about. this is why we care so much. you know, and for we women, we really were helped through this bill. through gender discrimination, through preexisting conditions. children were helped. and right now because obamacare is not fully implemented, it stops insurance companies from denying families health insurance or charging sky-high premiums because their child has
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a preexisting condition. what are we talking about here? we're talking about autism. we're talking about type one diabetes. time one diabetes, we're talking about even children who have arthritis. the other day i had such a poignant thing happen. i was dashing to the elevator and there was a family with a young lady, a young girl about my height, but about -- well, she was 13 and a tween. when they showed me their picture the last time we met, that tween, that young lady was in a wheelchair. she had -- because we don't think of someone around 11 or 9 having arthritis. but she does. this is going to be a chronic condition with this young lady. but through the work of n.i.h., other great research, and working with a biologic that was
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used for other medical issues but allowed under f.d.a. to work with her under very strictly controlled conditions with parental consent, of course, this young lady stood next to me. we laughed and we joked. back to back. because the little girl that was in the wheelchair is now a tween and she's a lot taller than i am. and we had a good laugh. but i'll tell you when i got on that elevator, i had a good cry. i was so emotional about it, i even feel it today. what are we doing here? don't we want to give this little girl a break? when her mother and father apply for insurance do we want the school marmish saying no, we can't insure you, that kid had arthritis. she did have arthritis but she is standing proud with her mother and father, joking with a united states senator, doing well in school.
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isn't that what we want for our country and for our young people? why do we want to repeal legislation that does that? madam president, i could talk a lot about this bill. i feel so strongly about the incredible infrastructure we have in our united states. n.i.h., academic centers of excellence, learned societies from i.o.m. to the american academy of pediatrics that advise us along the way. all of us working together. the private sector. the biologic was developed by the private sector. the private sector, working with doctors, working with f.d.a. to say can we try it off label that meets all the ethical things where children are involved. we did it, and look at the story. that's just one story. we're a country of 300 million people. that story is being acted out every single day and it's being acted out right now in the e.r. if you came to the e.r. with me at johns hopkins, the
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university of maryland, mercy hospital, are there people there from trauma? yes. are there people there in automobile accidents? yes. i was there myself with a fall coming out of church, yes. but over 70% there will be because they do not have health insurance and they're using a $1,000 a visit being in there. now, what kind of system is that? so you can repeal -- if we repeal the president's affordable care act, the consequences on families, the consequences on business will be horrific. we are simply shifting the cost rather than solving the problem. now, are there reforms necessary? yes. does the senator from texas and utah who spoke offer suggestions? yes. but let's let obamacare go forward, let's evaluate it, let's do due diligence, let's
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do oversight and make sure the health reforms we have instituted are working but don't repeal it. we will endanger lives and we will endanger our economy. madam president, i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: ms. mikulski: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: i ask unanimous consent that --. the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum. ms. mikulski: i ask unanimous consent that the call of the quorum be vacated. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. mikulski: i ask unanimous consent that the time until 2:00 p.m. be equally divided between senator cruz and myself or their designees, and that at 2:00 p.m. the senate proceed to
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vote in relation to the cruz amendment and this there be no amendments in order to the cruz amendment prior to the vote, and further, upon the disposition of the cruz amendment, the next amendment be in order be an amendment offered by senator harkin relative to the labor-h.h.s. appropriations. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. ms. mikulski: madam president, i yield the floor. ms. mikulski: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: i ask that the call of the quorum be vacated and the time be divided equally.
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the presiding officer: without objection. ms. mikulski: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. rubio: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. rubio: i rise to speak on the pending question, which is the cruz amendment to defund obamacare, and i appreciate his offering the amendment on this. it's a very relevant issue that i'm glad we're talking about. when i ran for office two years ago this was one of the central issues, there's been a court decision since then and we need to understand court decisions are about the constitutionality of something, they do not speak to the policy wisdom. that's what the debate is today. since the election and even going into the election we had lost some view on this. let me begin by saying health insurance is a problem in united states. no doubt about it. to be in opposition to the health care bill is not to say that we think nothing should
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happen. on the contrary, i know health insurance is a major problem for millions of americans. its affordablability is a problem, the ability. when i was a the speaker of the florida house, i had the honor of being that for two years in florida, we worked on ideas that created a marketplace where the private insurers and others could create packages for people. that's the kind of insurance you need and not everybody needs the same health insurance. let me give you an example. a family of four with two children, i have four children, i promise you you'll wind up in the pediatrician's office for all kinds of things. we're blessed, my children thank godder healthy and even then there is primary care, vaccinations, whether it's, you know, a cold that doesn't go away. whatever it may be. it's so criltally important to have that. so families in that circumstance need a certain type of coverage. and then there are other people, people that i know in their mid to late 20's, never
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go to the doctor but if they ever get sick it will be something very bad. they maybe would rather have primary care coverage, a higher deductible you could pay with a health savings account but on the back end catastrophic hospitalization costs so if you truly get sick, you have the opportunity to have the kind of coverage you need. the point is everybody needs different kinds of health care coverage. my hope is this country and the federal government to the extent it has a role to play in all this would help incentivize the creation of marketplaces for those sorts of innovative health ideas. as i said, not everybody needs the same health insurance and that's why there's some principles that should have guided this when this was debated before i got here. i think one of our guiding principles should be americans should be able to buy health insurance from any company in the country willing to sell it to them. right now health insurance is regulated at the state levels. the states have mandates what companies must offer to sell insurance in that state and you
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can't buy insurance if it doesn't have all of those things. the equivalent would be saying you have to buy a cadillac ascal aid or nothing. some people don't want a car that big and fancy. they need something a little different. the point is those choices are not available to consumers. we should start as an organizing principle by saying that every american should be able to buy the health insurance they want. from any company in america that's willing to sell it to them. another part of that is you should be able to buy health insurance for yourself. let me tell you why that's problematic. if your employer buys the health insurance for you, they don't pay taxes on the money. tamples are not paid on the money used to buy insurance but if you buy it yourself, it's treated as income. you pay taxes on it. that's problematic for a couple reasons. number one, some businesses and some employees would rather giving them the money so they can buy the plan they want. federal employees know very well
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what that is like. let me tell you what a federal employee gets. a book, if that book you choose between depending on where you live a bunch of different plans and you go right down the graph and tells you this is how much this plan offers, this is how much you have to pay in premiums per month, how much you owe in co-payments if you go to a doctor, a specialist, if you go to a hospital. how many people in america get that choice? how many people in america get the same choices on buying health care that their congressman and their senators get? very few. and to me that's a serious problem. and the good news about this, imagine now for a moment a country where people controlled their health care dollars. where you got to buy the insurance wasn'ted from the company you wanted, let me tell you what the market is going to do. it's going to react to that. what the market is going to do when people out there have choices over how they spend their health care dollars, they'll create insurance packages that people want to buy. they're going to realize we have a bunch of 25, 27, 29-year-olds in the united states that don't guilty sick.
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we should create special packages of insurance for them. they're going to realize we have a lot of families that can afford to pay x amount of money for a family coverage plan. we should create a plan for families like the them. by the way, along the lines of this level of flexibility, you could see where small businesses can get together with other small businesses. as an example, a small chamber of commerce in a mid-sized city somewhere can decide to bring all of those companies together and together they can buy insurance for their employees. it's hard to buy group coverage if you only have four employees or five but if you get together with other employees who have three or four or five employees, you have a buying pool that gives you leverage and power to create plans for all of your employees. there is no one size fits all. we should have that kind of flexibility in our insurance marketplace and we don't. now, these are want -- these are not going to cure anything but these are important steps forward. by the way, i would be remiss talking about medicine and not talk about malpractice and
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malpractice insurance rates, especially for specialties. do not underestimate what a significant impediment that is for some people to go into the medical profession or to stay in the medical profession. now, right up front, let me tell you, if a doctor is negligent, if a doctor commits malpractice, you should have a right to recover your economic damages and there should be some level of punitive damages to encourage people not to do that in the future and to be careful. the problem is, it's gone beyond that. in many states, we have a crisis when it comes to litigation and -- in essence, people aren't just suing because unfortunately something went wrong. they're suing on outcomes. they're not just suing because e the treatment was bad. the result is doctors practice defensive medicine. you go to a doctor, you go to a hospital, they order a slew of tests. not because you need them because they want to make sure they're covered. because if they ever end up in court, they can say to a jury, look at all the tests i ordered. what do you think pays for that? we do. there are places in florida
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where obstetricians don't even have coverage at all. they go bare. and what they do is they hire these lawyers to protect their assets so they can't be sued. and i know true stories of obstetricians that won't see certain patients anymore because they're afraid of the outcome of what may happen. and so i think that we need to look at perhaps not as a part of the insurance situation but in health care across the state, ways to incentivize states to pass medical malpractice reform that protects patients, patients, people should always have the right and access to the court system for wrongdoing and especially to be compensated for their economic damages. so if a doctor commits malpractice and you can't work anymore, all those lost wages that you're not going to be able to work for in the future, you should be able to be rewarded for that. but i'm telling you guys, if we allow doctors to continue to be sued in this country as an industry, which is what it's become, people are not going to go to medical school. and here's nor problem you're starting to see. a lot of young people in medical school don't want to go into the complex issues anymore, they don't want to become brain surgeons, they don't want to
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become ob-gyn's. they want to go into other specialties. in addition to offering better hours, your beeper doesn't go off if you're a plastic surgeon at 3:00 in the morning. they don't want to worry about liability. let me tell you, in florida, most of our cardiologists are over the age of 50. 15 years from now we're not going to have enough cardiologists and it's discouraging people from going into very important professions in medicine because they're afraid they're going to get sued, not for doing something wrong but because things didn't turn out well in treatment. let me just put on the record, i'm not against people being able to sue a negligent doctor. i think they should not only be sued but should lose their license. i'm just saying, if we go too far, like anything in the world, you're going to lose people from medicine that are going to decide not to go in it. now, let's talk about this issue for a moment and the amendment that's before us. the problem with obamacare is that it is a one-size-fits-all approach for the entire country. and the health care needs of americans are very different. number one, they're very
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different geographically depending on where you live. number two, they're very different depending on your family situation, your health situation, et cetera. now, some people, some people are very sick, they're chronically ill. and that's where we can have a conversation about high-risk pools because those people are is he difficult to insure. if someone is sure to get sick, it's hard to find an insurance for them because you're guaranteed to be sick. so we have to find a solution for that problem. and that's where conversations about high-risk pools at the state level are a valid thing to talk about. but beyond that, i think people should have flexibility and that's not what obamacare does. and i understand that people who read the newspapers and say, this is good, we're going to get a health care plan, we're going to be able to buy insurance, my boss is going to be forced to give me health insurance. that isn't how it's going to work out, guys. that isn't how things work out in the real world. and we're already starting to see the impacts of it. what's amazing to me is that as this law begins to develop, as people start to see the true impact and the unintended or maybe even the intended consequences of this law, i predict right now that the
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number of people who are excited about obamacare is going to dwindle rapidly. in fact, the proof is -- the proof is how many groups have come up here already and asked to be exempted out. how many unions, how many other groups have raised their hand and said, please don't make us live under the laws that we supported. don't make us live under these laws that we held rallies for. don't make us live under these laws that we bragged about because it has a negative impact on us. and some of them are coming to bare right away. number someone the costs. when this thing was passed thexd it would be about a trillion dollars, $940 billion, to be exact. now we know it's $1.7 trillion in gross costs over the next few years. how about tax hikes? absolutely. starting in 2014, the i.r.s. is going to create a problem for millions of americans and small businesses. basically if you're want buying health insurance of the kind that they wanted, of the kind the law requires, not just health insurance, a specific kind of health insurance, you're going to owe the i.r.s. a fine. think about that for a moment. if you're a small business owner or an individual and you're not buying the health insurance that
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the government says you must have, you now are going to have to pay a fine every year to the i.r.s. and some people are going to do the math and they're going to say, it is cheaper to pay the fine than it is to buy the health insurance. and that's problematic. but it's a cost. look, we're trying to grow our economy here. that's the only solution to our problems. over the next couple weeks, we're going to debate budgets, we're going to debate continuing resolutions and the word dealt is going to come up. -- debt is going to come up. we cannot tax our way out of this debt. there is no tax increase that gets us out of this debt. and to my own party, i say while we always have to have fiscal discipline, you can't cut your way out of this debt either. the only real solution to our debt problem -- and the debt matters because it's killing jobs in america -- the only real solution to our debt problems is a combination of two things. rapid, robust economic growth. if we could grow our economy at 4% a year, we could generate $3 trillion for debt reduction over the next decade. and we could create millions of jobs and pull people out of poverty and strengthen our middle class, which is the source of our exceptionalism as
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a country. and the second thing we need is fiscal discipline on future spending. this bill violates both. this bill violates both. it hurts economic growth because the only way you're going to grow your economy is if you make america a better place to create jobs and start businesses. that's how economic growth is created. when someone takes money they have or money they've borrowed or money somebody invested in them and they use it and they risk it to open a new business or to grow an existing one. and if the idea works, they start hiring people. and those people now are making a middle-class salary. and those people are now buying things and spending money, creating jobs and opportunities for others. that's the formula for growth and prosperity and this hurts that. because what you're now saying is, in addition to everything else you've got to put up with in america, all the state and local regulations, all the complicated tax code stuff, the natural downturn in the economy, globalism and the changes that it's brought, in addition to all of that, here's one more thing you're going to have to do. you're going to either have to offer health insurance of a certain kind or you're going to
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owe the i.r.s. a fine. i promise you, that's not the kind of stuff chamber of commerces put on their pamphlets when they try to attract businesses to their communities or their states. this is not going to help in job creation. the tax hikes are a big problem. it's especially bad for small businesses. because they have this arbitrary number of people with 50 employees or more have to do certain things. okay. so what do you think a lot of businesses are going to do? i know people. they've already told me about this. what they're going -- if you have 51 employees, this is a huge incentive to only have 49 employees. so you think about that for a moment. if you own a small road paving company with 50 full-time employees or 51 full-time employees, you sit down with your accountant to do your math for next year, your accountant is going to tell you, by the way, if you get rid of a couple of employees, this is how much money this is going to save you because of obamacare. so do we want to have an incentive in our laws to have people get rid of workers because it helps them avoid certain costs mandated by government? this is happening.
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this is not pie in the sky. this is going to happen. there are people planning to do that already. it is happening right now. here's another thing. how about part-time workers versus full-time workers? we've already seen evidence of this across the board but i'll tell you where you're seeing it already is in people that own a bunch of franchises. so you own a chain of kentucky fried chickens or a chain of mcdonald's. all of a sudden you have an incentive to move as many of those people as you can to part-time because they don't trigger the obamacare mandate either. so now you've got all these businesses across america who have an incentive that we've created in this law -- and i say we, the people who were here when this passed -- a perverse incentive to cut people's hours so they don't trigger the mandate for you. these are horrible consequences that are going to have an impact on our country at a time when we should be growing our economy and creating middle-class prosperity not working against it. so my prediction is that when they start to fully implement this over the next 12 to 18 months, it is going to be an epic disaster.
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an epic disaster. it's going to be an -- not because it was ill-intentioned per se. i think the goal of a -- of providing an environment where everybody can buy affordable health insurance is something we should take very seriously and we have to work on. you can't have a strong, stable middle class if people can't afford the cost of living. you can't have a strong and stable middle class if people don't have access to quality health care at an affordable price. and we should work on that. we should work on that really hard. but we have to do that with some balance. and this is not balanced. this is an across-the-board application to the entire country that's going to hurt a lot of people. there are people in america that are going to lose hours at work because of this bill. there are people in america that are going to lose the health insurance they have, which they're happy with, because of this bill. there are people in america that are going to have to lay people off and, therefore, there are people in america that are going to lose their jobs because of this bill. and our debt is going to grow. and so i hope we'll pass this amendment. i hope we'll defund this progr program. it was ill-designed.
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and as the -- and as the true ramifications of this bill begin to apply over the next few months and next couple years, we're going to be right back here on this floor trying to fix it. because this country cannot be what it is meant to be if it has to deal with something like this hanging around its neck. i yield the floor. mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: before the senator from florida leaves the floor, i just want to commend him for his observations. i listened carefully to what the senator from florida had to say and it reminds me of the prediction many of us made when it was passed. that it would be the single worst piece of legislation in modern times. everything that the president predicted would happen has not happened. premiums have gone up. jobs are been destroyed. the single biggest step in the direction of europeanizing our country that we could possibly have taken, we took with obamacare. so i just wanted to commend the
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senator from florida for his comments. they're right on the mark. i also want to thank senator cruz for offering this amendme amendment. i offered it in the last congress myself. there is no way to fix this thing. no way to fix it. it needs to be pulled out by its roots. the senator from florida pointed out it's already destroying jobs. i was on a tele town hall meeting the other night. a restaurant manager called in and said exactly what the senator from florida just said, that they were moving to lower their employment and to have more part-time workers in order to try to deal with the impending obamacare explosion. and so i'm sure the senator from florida's running into that in his state as well. mr. rubio: if i may. in response to the senator from kentucky, let me say a couple
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things actually. a true-world imample. example. here's the startling thing about it. a lot of people aren't fully sure what this means yet. a lot of people who cover politics on a daily basis may. but most americans are not tuned in to c-span 24 hours a day. they get their news and tidbits in the morning when they're making their coffee, they have the radio on, they hear some stuff on the radio when they're on their way to work. then they have to work for 12, 14 hours, then they get home, have to do homework with the kids, put the kids to bed, maybe they watch an hour or two of tv. but they're not in touch with this. they've got lives to lead. and you'll be surprised how many small businessmen and women and how many employees around the country are not even aware of this yet, don't even realize the decision they're going to have to make next year. so if you're a business that's anywhere between 45 and 55 or 60 employees, when you sit down at the end of this year with your planner, be it your accountant, your lawyer, whatever it is you use, your human resources people, and you sit down and do next year's planning, they're going to sit down and tell you,
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okay, next year we have this new law and this new law says we have to offer this kind of insurance and here are your choices. option number one is you can offer the insurance and this is how much more it's going to cost than what you're paying right now. option number two is don't offer any insurance and pay a fine to the i.r.s. every year from now on. and here's how much that's going to be. or option number three is just to let some people go so you don't have to do any of this. and i'm telling you, a lot of these people are going to say, you know what? it breaks our heart, we don't want to do it, it's not good for our business, but of the three options, the only one that's going to allow us to survive is to let some people go and that's not good for us. that's not good for us. mr. mcconnell: well, the senator from florida may have mentioned earlier -- the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: the senator from florida may have mentioned this earlier in his remarks, but so far, 20,000 new pages of regulations so far. a stack this high. 20,000 pages of regulations. absolutely indecipherable. by very intelligent people. and they're just getting
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started. so i just want to thank the senator from florida for his comments, i think they're right on the mark. this is a huge mistake for our country. hopefully someday, maybe even beginning with this amendment, we can begin to undo this massive mistake we made a few years ago. madam president, you know, we've been saying, as i indicated, for three years that this bill will be too expensive, that it won't do what it promised. every day we're seeing further proof of that. the federal reserve said it will cost jobs. that's the federal reserve, not the r.n.c., said it will cost jobs. we predicted that. yesterday we got a glimpse of the application process for obamacare. it turns out that applying for it is going to be as hard as doing your taxes. applying for obamacare is going to be as hard as doing your taxes. today, there is another a.p. story saying some folks will see their insurance bills double next year as a result of this
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law. the insurance will double next year as a result of this law. as i just indicated, so far 20,000 pages of regulations and many, many more are expected. this bill is an unmitigateed -- unmitigated disaster for our country, an absolute disaster. so i applause senator cruz for offering this amendment. i strongly support his efforts. not a single member of my party in the house and the senate voted for this bill in the first place. we need to get this bill off the books and straighten our country out, and this would be a big step in the direction of achieving that. madam president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: i assume a number of my colleagues have seen the movie "lincoln." one particularly brief but poignant moment of that movie
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showed the president's staff discouraged him from spending so much time talking to regular people, leaving the white house, inviting just normal people that weren't in politics every day or didn't work in the white house into the white house to talk. they were saying you're president, you have got to run this war, you have got so much to do, you shouldn't be meeting with people as much. lincoln said i need my -- he said i need my regular public opinion baths. i guess i would -- when i just listened to the last few speakers, particularly the republican leader, i think it's important that more people in this institution go out and talk to real people who are affected by this health care law who have already -- the 25-year-old who has already benefited from staying on her mother's health care plan, the person in the high risk pool that has insurance now. there is a friend of mine in ottawa county now does -- i'm sorry, in port clinton, ottawa county in ohio has because of this law. people that have seen the
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consumer protections. they haven't been able -- they haven't lost their insurance because they have been expensive for an insurance company. my colleagues need to get a public opinion bath and walk around their states a little more maybe and listen to people outside of the country clubs and outside of the trade associations which are charged ideologically and not really particularly open about these kinds of issues. i rise to -- to oppose the amendment offered by senator cruz, the badly named restore growth first amendment that would prohibit resources included in the continuing resolution to be used to implement the affordable care act. specious claims about how the health law will harm our economy have already been debunked by the hundreds of ohioans who are able to have annual wellness visits, by the tens of thousands of young adults staying on their parents' plan as i mentioned, by the seniors receiving the doughnut -- seeing the doughnut hole coverage gap closing with real prescription savings costs.
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it is debunked by americans who are no longer denied coverage because of preexisting conditions by americans who are not forced to pay more for insurance because of a preexisting condition, by women who now can rely on affordable, accessible reproductive health services. starting in 2014, americans who have not been able to afford health insurance in the private market will be able to comparison shop and receive assistance if needed to purchase insurance. these much-needed health care reforms which will benefit americans next year are already benefiting americans and have been for a couple of years. continued implementation of these reforms is crucial for improving the quality of care and benefiting the cost curve -- and bending the cost curve. health spending is related to the economy and the deficit, but let's be clear we know that the health law will reduce the deficit by over $100 billion over the next decade. that's congressional budget office numbers. that's not republican numbers or democratic numbers. repealing the health law
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increases -- the cruz amendment, repealing the health law would increase, not reduce, the deficit. and we know how it's helping people. 100,000 reasons in my home state of ohio to stand up for this health law and reject this amendment. 97,000 of ohio's young adults are now able to stay on their parents' plan until 2026. mr. inhofe: would the senator yield for unanimous consent request? mr. brown: of course. mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent that at the conclusion of the senator's remarks, i be recognized. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: almost 100,000 ohio young adults have been able to stay on their parents' health plan. seniors have saved almost $300 million in prescription drugs just since the passage of the health law. per average beneficiary savings, $775. 147,000 small businesses in ohio are eligible for tax credits. finally, thanks to the health law, more people in my home state and across the nation have access to free preventative services. i said 100,000 reasons for ohioans to like this law and oppose this amendment.
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there are two million ohioans with private insurance who have gained preventative health costs, health services with no cost sharing. that means major illnesses can be detected earlier. it means decreasing treatment costs in human suffering over the long term. the affordable care act is the most promising initiative to control health care costs in decades. the health law is about reducing costs for consumers, means investing in more affordable preventative care for americans now. and as i said, the help law is about containing costs as we extend insurance. it means that people rather than going to the emergency room with a sick child can go to the family doctor and get preventative care prior to the child's ear infection getting so serious. the new medical loss ratio rules state that health insurance plans must spend at least 80% of premium dollars on health care costs, not executive bonuses, not other administrative expenses. the -- in ohio, 143,000 ohioans
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receive more than $11 million in rebates as a result of this. the prevention in public health fund is the part of the law that will give us test data about how to bend the cost curve through preventative programs. ohioans receive more than $17 million already to prevent chronic diseases and decrease smoking rates. mr. durbin: would the senator yield for a question? mr. brown: certainly. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: pending before the senate now is the cruz amendment which would literally remove any funding to implement the affordable care act, as i understand it, is that correct? mr. brown: that's correct. mr. durbin: and we have heard from the republicans on that side of the aisle that they oppose this intrusion of government into health care in creating insurance exchanges so that americans who currently don't have a choice in health insurance and want to get a different policy if they care to get one would have a choice through the exchanges? mr. brown: that's what they have
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been saying, yes. mr. durbin: and the premise behind this has been the government shouldn't be involved in this, as i understand the republican argument, is that correct? mr. brown: that's what they say. mr. durbin: and did i hear the republican leader come to the floor and talk about thousands of pages of regulations, government regulations that will now be part of health care? mr. brown: he did. mr. durbin: i'd like to ask the senator from ohio is he aware of the fact that every member of the united states senate has a government-administered health insurance plan? mr. brown: i'm aware of it. i assume my colleagues are, too. mr. durbin: are you aware of any senator on the republican side who has come forward -- and there may be one, i don't know -- who has said i am so opposed to government-administered health care that as a united states senator, i will not take advantage of the federal employees health benefit program? mr. brown: i don't -- i have not heard any say that, senator durbin. mr. durbin: so the same senators who are critical of obamacare
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because government is involved in health care have themselves, their families and children protected by a government-administered health insurance plan? mr. brown: that -- that's my understanding. that's been sort of the hypocrisy woven through this debate over the last three years. mr. durbin: so although it's good enough for these united states senators, it's not good enough for the rest of america? mr. brown: apparently not good enough for a senior, not good enough for somebody who is low income, who is working two $10 an hour jobs. i guess it's not good enough for hem them -- them. mr. durbin: it says we eliminate all funding for the affordable care act in terms of, for example, the extension of the availability of health insurance for your children up to the age of 26. as i understand the cruz amendment, we couldn't fund that aspect of the affordable care act. mr. brown: the cruz amendment takes away -- it doesn't just anticipate changes in the future. it take away all these services that have been out there that i
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have been talking about, the thousands of people in illinois and ohio and wisconsin who have benefited from 25-year-olds, 22-year-olds, somebody graduates from champagne, madison, columbus, they don't have insurance, they have a job, they are 23 years old, they can stay on their parents' health plan. all the preventative care that literally hundreds of thousands of seniors in ohio now get with no co-pay or no deductible, that would be wiped away. all the other provisions that people have benefited from already are taken from them by this amendment. mr. durbin: so this breath-taking cruz amendment would actually say to these families with children who are currently under the family policy up to the age of 26, it's over. those kids are now on their own to find their own health care? mr. brown: but the senators who are pushing this amendment would still have their health insurance, to remind you of that. mr. durbin: the cruz amendment does not lame the government-administered -- so the federal employees health benefit program which protects the united states senators and
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congressmen is not affected by the cruz amendment? mr. brown: my reading of it is it is not affected. mr. durbin: so they don't hate that aspect of government-administered health insurance? mr. brown: apparently not, senator durbin. mr. durbin: is it also true that the seniors who get benefits under the affordable care act, for example, annual physicals that are available, that those will be eliminated as well? mr. brown: in my state and your state because your state is slightly larger than mine, over a million seniors in each state and hundreds of thousands in the presiding officer's state of wisconsin, millions of seniors have gone in, gotten -- gotten some kind of preventative care, got screenings for diabetes, screenings for osteoporosis and not paid a co-pay or deductible, gotten physicals and not had their co-pay or deductible waived as a result of the affordable care act. the cruz amendment would, while still protecting health insurance for senator cruz and others, would wipe away those benefits for seniors. mr. durbin: is it also not true that here in the united states
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capitol, we have an attending physician's office, run by the united states navy, a government entity, which makes itself available if each senator cares to pay a monthly fee for annual physicals for senators? a government-administered annual physical for senators? mr. brown: it's true. that is true. and that's open to people regardless of how they vote on the cruz amendment. mr. durbin: so does the cruz amendment eliminate this government-administered physical exam that's available for members of the united states senate? mr. brown: it does not. mr. durbin: i'm starting to note a pattern here, that the senators who want to do away with government-administered health care for everyone else, want to keep it for themselves. does that pattern emerge in your analysis? mr. brown: we had this discussion back in 2009 and 2010 when we debated this health care law that members of the house and senate continue to get health insurance, and i recall one house member was unhappy campaigning against the affordable care act because he just came to the house and he
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didn't get his insurance for the first month, paid for by the government, as he tried to take away insurance for low-income, moderate income people in my state and my district and your state. mr. durbin: well, i would say that senator cruz would certainly be able to offer an amendment that eliminated all government-administered health insurance as it applies to any person in the united states. if he did that, he would be consistent, but instead what he's done is to go after those today who are struggling to find their own health insurance, cannot afford it, and are simply asking for the same option as members of congress have today, to go to an insurance exchange and choose that insurance plan that is best for them and their family. i think it would be more consistent, and i ask the senator from ohio does he think it would be more consistent? mr. brown: i'd like to see senator cruz or one of the supporters of the cruz amendment to offer an amendment like that. mr. durbin: i thank the senator from ohio. mr. brown: i appreciate the words of the senator from illinois, and i will yield in a moment to the senator from
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oklahoma, but just close with i think senator durbin's comments exactly explained that, that there is -- there is a bias in this institution on tax policy and health policy for some senators to take care of themselves and people like them a little more than paying attention to the rest of the country. i think that amendment shows this. it's one more good reason to vote against the cruz amendment. i yield the floor. mr. inhofe: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: you know, we have been discussing this and debating this obamacare for how long now? three years, i guess. as long as i can remember. it seems like ever since he has been -- several years, anyway. i have never heard that argument before where they say well, you have -- you have the same government-run plan, why don't you include -- that's not true. that's not true at all. as a matter of fact, we have -- and i have worked in the corporate world and i have been on the leadership part where we're making decisions and offer our employees the benefits of different companies. it could be aetna, it could be blue cross/blue shield or anybody else.
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we can make that determination as to what we want and then we pay for it. i don't see -- i don't think the argument has ever been used, to my memory. now, i'm going to be -- i wasn't coming down to talk about that, but i will since i am a cosponsor of the cruz amendment. i think anything you can do to get rid of obamacare is in our interest. right now our attorney general in the state of oklahoma is scott pewitt, he has a lawsuit, an amended complaint challenging the implementation of obamacare. scott pruitt is arguing that they're reinterpreting to hike taxes on oklahoma employees. that's what's happening right now in my state of oklahoma and i don't know how the polling goes. i would only say this: i sense an air of anxiety in these people trying to support right now obamacare because people have caught on.
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people in my state of oklahoma have caught on. we're talking about oklahoma would have to spend an april dicial $400 million over the next ten years on medicaid in order to cover those who already qualify and will be forced into the program that's a government program, we're talking about, due to obamacare. the mandate. this money will be diverted from schools and from roads and other needs, public safety, in the state of oklahoma. and our research shows that premiums in oklahoma could increase anywhere from 65% to 100% due to the coverage mandates required by obamacare. so it's as if we're having this debate all over again but they're bringing up things now that i've never really heard of. i want to mention one thing, there's a friend of mine in oklahoma, his name is david -- david green. david green several years ago started with one store, a thing called hobby lobby. one story in the state of
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oklahoma and it is now he has 500 stores, he's in 41 states and he has i don't know, i think it's over 50,000 employees. right now he is -- is faced a new kind of intimidation. this guy has never faced in his life, that is intimidation of saying because david green disagrees because of his religious convictions in -- against providing his employees with abortion inducing drugs and the company faces now $1.3 million a day -- all you pro-abortionists, you like this. this is wonderful. he is one who hires people and has hired thousands of people in 41 states in this country and is now providing all these benefits for americans and all he's saying is his religious convictions don't allow him to participate in abortion-inducing drugs. so he's under the threat right now if you do the math,
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$1.3 million a day. here's a guy that's i guess i'm more sensitive to this than i should be because i've known him from the very beginning. i only want to speak real briefly because i know i have a couple of friends that need to, and i would -- you want to make a u.c.? mr. johnson: if i could have a unanimous consent request --. the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin. mr. johnson: thank you, madam president. i obviously came to the floor today to support the cruz amendment. would you still like to be talking? mr. inhofe: i was asking if you wanted to lock yourself in with a unanimous consent request while i finish on another subject. mr. johnson: yes, i would like to ask unanimous consent to speak up to five to seven minutes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: madam president, i do cosponsor this amendment, we'll be voting on at 2:00 today. there's another one that's going to come up, amendment number
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28. this could be coming up in a very short time, could be this afternoon and i was afraid i wouldn't have a chance to make a couple of comments about it. i'm cosponsoring this amendment. this is by senator paul. it withholds funding to egypt until egypt's president clairs that he intends to abide by the camp david peace accords which has kept the peace between egypt and israel for over 30 years. you talk to any of your israeli friends and they will tell you this is really significant. and i appreciate the fact that he recognizes that. in fact, the bill that i had, that i introduced back -- i actually introduced it earlier but reintroduced it in january, january 25 of this year, 207, s. 207, calls for the suspension of the shipment of f-16's and other military equipment and services until egypt agrees to uphold its commitment under the 1979 camp david peace accords.
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a lot of people don't realize they have been our friend and if you ask any of your israeli friends they will tell you they are. it happens the president is a muslim brotherhood president. he's not like we have had in egypt before. people think of other countries having the same kind of system that we have and they don't. right now the -- the military is a military that we trained, there's a major general elkeski happens to be here right now, he's a friend of mine, trained traind in fort sill in oklahoma. the majority of the middle grade officers in egypt have been trained in the united states. they're our friends. that's what we're getting at here. so that i made that qualification when i said we want to reduce the things that we are doing, i was talking about military equipment, f-16's way back in january until they make that commitment. i think that's a very reasonable
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commitment. so the amendment coming up, amendment number 28, will be by paul and inhofe and it will talk about support for egypt. and go into other areas of support, more over and above military equipment saying until such time as they agree with what they have agreed with over the last 30 years or so and they will continue to be our friends then we wand to withhold. this is the only leverage we have. i said this in january. the only leverage we have to encourage them to come with us is to say that we're going to withhold some things and that's what we're doing. so when that time comes up, i still have my bill, s. 207 and it's essentially the same as the paul-inhofe bill. and so it does not necessarily necessarily -- necessary to have them both in terms of a vote but i think on one of them we'll have to have a vote and it should tie in what their behavior has been in the past, what it should be in the future so that we don't have a muslim broad brohood guy running a
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country and we don't know how our equipment will be used. our f-16's and tanks and others have been used to defend -- to participate in the defense of our friends in the middle east primarily israel and of ourselves. so i'm hoping that we'll get to that and have a chance to have a vote on it. with that i will yield the floor. mr. johnson: thank you. the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin. mr. johnson: yes, madam president. i came down to the floor here today to voice my support for the cruz amendment. i'd like to really concentrate on the cost of the health care law which is why we're asking in this amendment to defund that bill because we simply can't afford it. so much of our budget already is not considered and frequently in negotiations on how we stabilize our deficit and our debt situation, that's off the table. things like medicare, social security as unsustainable as those programs are, off the table in terms of negotiation. if you really want to take a look at the real problem with
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the health care law, about obamacare, is the fact that it simply is not affordable. i know in the name of the bill it says the affordable care act, but we simply can't afford it. basic economics 101 describes the problem because obamacare will dramatically increase the demand for health care. 30 million more americans and let's face it, we all want those americans to have access to affordable health care, will be accessing health care or trying to, demanding health care through some program like kind of like a medicaid program while at the same time the supply will be dramatically reduced. that's going to be an economic disaster. what i'd like to do is put up a couple charts and graphs showing the true cost. we don't really talk about the true budget window, when obamacare fully kicks in in 2016 this is based off a c.b.o. estimate and all we've had to do is extrapolate the final three years. basically what it shows is that obamacare won't cost a trillion dollars it was originally
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estimated to cost when it's fully implemented between 2016 and 2025 it will actually cost $2.4 trillion at a minimum. and, of course, it will be paid by taxes, fees and penalties which i guess now are taxes, equaling about $1.4 trillion. so again you have $2.4 trillion worth of cost, you have $1 trillion worth of taxes and, by the way, the majority of those or a lot of those taxes, a great portion of that will be indirect on -- on moild-income americans. then we have a hole. $1.6 trillion that apparently will be taken out of medicare providers. we're not sure what's going to happen in the full budget window. that's a trillion-dollar deficit risk. again, these are all estimates which i would argue in general the federal government is not particularly good at estimating anything. back when they first passed medicare back in the mid 19 be
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60s they projected out today 25 years and said medicare would cost $12 trillion in 1990. in fact, it cost $110 trillion, over not nine times the original estimate. i don't believe the federal government has gotten better at estimating. president obama famously repeatedly said if you pass the health care law by the end of his first terms, the cost of a family plan would actually decline by $2,500. but, unfortunately, that guarantee has not come true. back when president obama took office, the annual cost of a family plan was a little over $12,000. 123 his promise had come true -- if his promise had come through true we'd be looking at a plan about $10,000 today. in fact the cost of a family plan today is now $15,000. that's somewhat of a broken promise. but if you really want to take a look at what i think is the greatest risk in terms of the cost projections by the c.b.o. is in that estimate of the total
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cost of obamacare, the $2.4 trillion we're talking about in the true budget window, the c.b.o. estimated only a million people net would lose their employee sponsored care and get dumped in the exchanges with the subsidies. but it's going to be far worse than than that. 160 million to 180 million americans access health care through their employers. i was one of those employers. i purchased health care for more than 31 years. the decision the employers are going to be making in terms of whether or not to carry health care has dramatically changed under the health care law. now the decision is going to be do i pay $15,000 for a family plan and then try and comply with now 20,000 pages of law, rules and regulations. leader mcconnell printed out those 20,000 pages. you can see it in the hallway. it's an enormous, enormous burden for anyone trying to comply with that. anyway, the decision is do i pay $15,000 to try to comply
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with 20,000 pages of rules and regulations or do i pay the $2,000 or thousand dollars fine, the penalty? and in so doing i'm not exposing my employees to financial ruin. i'm making them eligible for huge subsidies in the exchange. if you have a median income of $64,000 you'll be eligible for $10,000 in those exchanges. $10,000 worth of subsidies. who isn't going to take that deal? that's my point. as employers will drop coverage. they're incentivized to do so. rather than a million americans losing their employer-sponsored care and enjoying those subsidies, tens of millions. so one of the amendments i'll be adding in the budget process, we'll be asking the c.b.o. to provide the worst-case scenario. what happens if the mckenzie study is true, 30% of employers drop coverage, or 50% or 100%? it will be a simple amendment to get the worst-case scenario.
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with that i yield the floor, madam president. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from idaho -- i'm sorry, wyoming. mr. barrasso: i come to the floor to speak in support of the cruz amendment, as a doctor, someone who has practiced medicine for 25 years taking care of families all around the state of wyoming. and when we entered into the discussion about health care and then ultimately the discussion of what became the obama health care law, i'd come to the floor and say we need to do health care reform. patients know what they want. they want the care they need from a doctor they choose at lower cost. cost was the driver of all of this. then we got into the debate and the scutionz and what we got was a health care law over 2,000 pages long. and i said does that make a lot of sense? let's go back to the founding fathers, james madison, the father of the constitution, said should pass no laws, he
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said, so volume unanimous us in they cannot be read nor so incoherent they cannot be understood. regrettably, that's exactly what we got with this olympic health care law, a law so voluminous it cannot be read, and so incoherent it cannot be understood, and when you say how do we know it was so long that it couldn't be read? how voluminous? nancy pelosi said it herself. she said first you have to pass it before you get to find out what's in it. well, the american people now know what is in the health care law. they know it and they don't like it. i've had town hall meetings all around the state of wyoming and when you go to a community and talk about the health care law and you just kind of ask the simple question, do you believe under the president's health care law that you will be paying more for your health care? all the hands go up. then you ask the question do you believe under the president's health care law that the quality of your care and the availability of your care will actually go down? and again, all the hands go up.
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and that is why as of today, madam president, this health care law continues to be very unpopular. nationwide, there are more people that think that the health care law is doing harm than believe that it is doing well. now, let's take a look at what the president promised during the discussion and why some people spoardz it. first of all, the president said that under the health care law, if you like the plan you have, if you like the care you have, you can keep it. we now know from many, many studies and reports that that's not the case. in seemed having just read the law that was being discussed, that you weren't going to be able to keep it, but it wasn't until now that people realize more and more that they're not able to keep what they had if they liked it. the other thing the president promised is under his health care law, that insurance premiums for a family would drop by $2,500, he said, in a -- by the end of his first term in office. so the first term has come and
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gone and what families around the country are seeing is that health care premiums didn't go down, they actually went up, up quite a bit, up by over $3,000 per family. and why is it that the law is so unpopular? well, there are many reasons, but part of it is this so-called individual mandate, the mandate that the government can come into your home and tell you, you have to buy a government-approved product. many people around the country believe it's unconstitutional. it actually went to the supreme court. discussion and debates in the supreme court and the court ruled. and the court ruled that it was not unconstitutional. but it is still unworkable, it is still very unpopular, and it is absolutely unaffordable for us as a nation. this health care law -- and i talked to physicians, i talked to the nurses who take care of them, this health care law is bad for patients, it's bad for providers -- those nurses and doctors who take care of those patients -- and it is terrible for the american taxpayers.
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now, the most interesting thing to me in the last week has been the report called the beige book, which the federal reserve comes out with every month. they travel around the country and ask their federal reserve people what's happening in this community, that community and this part of the country, in this region of the country. and what's happening to the economy. and in this past month's report, it has said that as a result specifically of the health care law, businesses aren't hiring, that they have called it -- the federal reserve has called this a drag on the economy, the health care law. you say, well, how can that be? a couple of things. one is the huge uncertainty for businesses not knowing what the impacts of the health care law specifically in terms of dollars and cents are going to be. but there are a couple of components of the health care law that are really hurting in terms of businesses hiring people. one is that things kick in for businesses once a business goats
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having 50 employees. so if a business has 49 full-time employees, they have to decide, do we want -- and we're trying to expand and we have more business and we want to hire more people, what are the costs of that additional 50th employee? well, the costs are dramatic because it then kicks that business into the huge expenses of supplying government-approved health care. not necessarily health care or insurance at a level that those employees might need or want or the business can afford. no, a government level of approved health care which may be much, much more than that individual needs or wants or can afford. because the government's saying, we know what's best, the government knows what's best for you, the family in this community or that community and people working for that busine business. so that's part of it. so those folks aren't hiring. and -- and you'll remember, madam president, i said full-time employee. and they define full-time as 30
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hours or more a week. so we have the businesses known as the 29ers, where they are -- they are, for purposes of not having additional full-time employees, hiring people for 29 hours a week. and there have been reports in the press of different businesses where people are working two different jobs at two different businesses because they can only get part-time work. and the reason they can only get part-time work is because when they're part-time workers, then the businesses aren't mandated to pay for very expensive health care, which makes it much more difficult to be successful as a business and to keep hiring more people. to the point that there was a report of a five guys hamburger chain in one community, and they said we aren't going to expand, we're not going to build another, we're not hiring any full-time people and we're going to cut the hours of folks that we have, we're pulling in more part-time people. now, this is one of the unintended consequences of the health care law, hurting the economy directly through
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impacting on jobs. the president says he wants to improve the economy, get people back to work and america on the road to recovery but yet the health care law is, according to the federal reserve in this month's beige book, hurting the economy, dragging down the economy. so, madam president, i come to the floor today to support the amendment by senator cruz because the american people know what they were looking for in health care reform, which was, of course, the care they need from a doctor they choose, at lower cost. and that was not at all provided urn the president's health care law -- under the president's health care law. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: madam president, i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the calling of the quorum. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reed: thank you, madam president. madam president, i rise to speak today in opposition to the cruz amendment which would prohibit any funding in the continuing resolution from being used to carry out the goals of the affordable care act. the broad scope of this amendment clearly indicates that anything anticipated under the affordable care act would be subject to defunding and that's a broad category of activities.
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in fact, we've already had the affordable care act producing demonstrable and positive results in my state of rhode island and those results could be eliminated or reversed. for example, there are protections existing today because of the affordable care act for children with preexisting conditions to ensure they're no longer denied coverage. and there are over 15,000 rhode island children who have a preexisting condition that could have been dropped from insurance coverage prior to the enactment of the affordable care act. their parents and other adults, approximately 200,000 rhode island adults, also live with preexisting conditions will gain protection from being dropped from coverage beginning in january. we began with children and now we're expanding it to adults. if we don't do that, then you're going to have a whole category, a huge segment of my population that can't get insurance. and the inevitable result is that they will go to expensive emergency rooms, they will cost
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all of us more money, and rather than saving money, this will -- and dealing with the deficit in a responsible way, this will just add to our deficit problems and deny people health care. the law included -- at fordable care act -- new tax breaks for small businesses to make health insurance more affordable. small businesses have been able to access a tax credit of up to 35% of their health care costs every year since 2010. beginning in 2014, these businesses may receive a tax credit of up to 50% of their health care costs in any two-year period. again, this support on the affordable care act could be jeopardized or eliminated under the proposed amendment. the law also included discounts on covered brand-name and generic prescription drugs to seniors who have reached their prescription drug coverage gap known as the famous or infamous doughnut hole. already in rhode island in 2012, we
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saved -- seniors have saved, individual senior citizens in rhode island have saved $24.5 million because we're beginning to close the doughnut hole. and these discounts will continue until coverage -- the doughnut hole will be eliminated in 2020, and the cruz amendment will stop that process. so essentially, we're voting to tell seniors go back to the case of the doughnut hole, more money out of your pocket at a time you can afford less and less for prescription drugs. now, many of my colleagues on the republican side say that they support these aspects of the affordable care act, yet this amendment would effectively do away with them or cast some confusion that they would not be effectively implemented. now, we have to, i think, continue to effectively implement the affordable care act, not only in terms of providing access to quality care for all of our citizens but within the affordable care act was significant deficit
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reduction. indeed, we were able to extend the medicare program by, i believe, eight years to 2024 in terms of our funding models, and all of that would be jeopardized by this amendment. there are some other examples, too. for example, the affordable care act reauthorized funding to help i am unionize un -- -- immunize uninsured or underinsured children and adults. every year my state receives $3 million to immunize its population. immunization funding is critical for the child and the family, but they also benefit all of us because if you can immunize 75% to 95% of the population, immunologists and health specialists will tell us that we're all protected from something technically known as the herd community, unquote. it makes sense. if you have a sufficient number of people who are vaccinated against the disease, if the disease occurs, the likelihood of spreading is diminished
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dramatically. so this is another example of a public health initiative on the affordable care act which if it is repealed or defunded will leave us all vulnerable to diseases. that's not a benefit. that's a detriment to all of us. we have to, again, i think, consider other aspects of the affordable care act. one other aspect i'd like to mention is the critical area of health care work force programs, programs that help train doctors and nurses. many of these programs are funded in the continuing resolution, and they, too, would be either eliminated or so uncertain as to the nonreliable financial institutions. in my home state in rhode island, they are using these programs to help train new generations of health care professionals. not just physicians but physicians assistants and nurse practitioners, and indeed what
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we're seeing, because of the affordable care act, is a refocus, we hope, to more emphasis on family practitioners, family care, less expensive, more effective over the long term in terms of prevention. all of that would be jeopardized under this proposed amendment. there are countless other examples of not only interfering with health care access for a vast number of americans but actually setting back our efforts to reduce the deficit and to sustain programs like medicare. the burden might be particularly felt by seniors because one of the things that was most compelling in a debate about the health care act was closing this doughnut hole. seniors feel like we have taken a positive step to do that. this would be an about-face on the seniors of america, causing them to see more and more costs in their limited budgets. i would urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment.
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and with that, madam president, i would yield the floor and i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. nelson: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mr. johanns: i ask unanimous consent to speak three minutes on the cruz amendment. the presiding officer: the senate is a in a quorum call. mr. johanns: first i ask that the quorum call be set aside, madam president. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. johanns: madam president, i ask for three minutes to speak on the cruz amendment. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. johanns: madam president, thank you. today i rise to speak on behalf of the cruz amendment, and i wanted to spend just a couple of minutes explaining my thoughts behind the amendment and why i am proud to be a cosponsor of this amendment. all across nebraska, i do roundtable meetings where i sit down with hospital communities,
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i sit down with the medical profession, i sit down with small businesses. i have done this for years and years. well, over the last couple of years, since the affordable care act was passed, i have had a number of opportunities to sit down with small businesses. and invariably, the first issue that comes up is the crushing effect of the regulatory environment. businesses will tell me that they just simply are afraid to grow or can't grow because of what washington is burdening them with. more specifically, madam president, they talked to me about the affordable care act and the toll it is taking on their businesses. i can give you a perfect example. at a small business, a franchise business, they had a franchise in lincoln, they had a franchise in omaha.
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the owner of that business said to me, you know, my business is not too bad. we could actually grow this business. we look out there in the future and we see some opportunities to grow this business. then they went on to say we're at about 48 employees now, and we're not going to grow. i said, well, why would that be? why have you decided that you're not going to grow this business? and their answer was simple and straightforward. they said when we grow over 50 employees, we become subject to the requirements that are impossible for a business our side to meet under the affordable care act. so the own owner said to me, i've met with the accountants, we've met with the lawyers, we've looked at this every possible way we can and we've just decided we're going to have to stay a business of this size. but it was not isolated to that business. i went down the road, down the
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interstate, sat down with another business in a different community. same story. business is pretty good, i was told. we could grow the business. the business is there for us to grow. we have about 47, 48 employees, and we've made the decision that we won't grow. now, this is at a time in our nation's history where we are desperate for unemployment in the united states, now in nebraska, we've been fortunate. we balance our budget, we pay our bills, actually our unemployment never got over 5% because we're a conservative state. but having said that, when you hear businesses say the greatest impediment to my growth is not the competition down the street or across the street. the greatest impediment to my growth is the federal government , you realize, madam president, that we have done something very, very
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seriously wrong. i want to wrap up with another thought. and it's on a different area of the affordable care act, and i ask for an additional minute to finish this thought, madam president. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. johanns: thank you, madam president. i met with a group of young people today. they've got their whole life in front of them. they're talking and thinking about what they're going to do in terms of going on to college and what their career might be. and they asked me about the affordable care act, and i said, you know, one of the things that is important to point out is my generation's going to do very well under this act. we've got caps on how much our premiums can go up, we've got medicare out there. but i said your generation is not going to do well. why? because your premiums are going to go straight up. and you're at a point in your life where you're not going to
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use a lot of health care. i'm at a point in my life where i will use a lot of health care. this imbalance, madam president, is going to be devastating to the younger generation. as they are thinking about buying that first home and making an investment, as they are thinking about starting their families, what's the federal government going to do? it's going to place a crushing blow upon them in terms of higher premiums, and that just is the reality of the situation. well, i will wrap up with this thought -- i could go on and on. as a former governor, i could tell you adding 24 million people to medicaid is such a flawed policy approach. i could talk about the impact that this is going to have on accessibility for care by people who desperately need that care.
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but the bottom line is this: this was the flawed policy, i was here when it was passed, it's a policy that needs to be defunded. we need to do the right thing with health care. this is not it. thank you, madam president. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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ms. mikulski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: i ask that the call of the quorum be vacated. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: mr. president? i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. ms. mikulski: mr. president, could we just have quiet. we're going to have our first vote on this bill. mr. shelby: i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators wishing to vote or to change their vote? hearing none, the yeas are 45, the nays are 52. the amendment is not approved. without objection. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. harkin: i have an amendment at the desk and i ask consent to bring it up. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from iowa, mr. harkin, proposes amendment numbered 53 to amendment numbered 26.
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mr. harkin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. harkin: mr. president, the spending package that we're considering this week i think is a little bit unusual, to say the least. five of the 12 appropriations subcommittees get detailed, full-length spending bills. defense, military construction, agriculture, homeland security and commerce and justice. the other seven appropriations bills are basically on auto pilot, continuing resolutions. so with a few exceptions, whatever the government spent last year on programs in the subcommittees is what the government will spend this year. i know for a fact that this is not what the chairwoman of the appropriations committee wanted. she fought hard for an omnibus
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that would have included all 12 spending bills. i am very respectful of that. she fought hard for it, but this is where we stand right now. i am speaking today because the programs under the jurisdiction of the senate labor, health and human services and education appropriations subcommittee, which i am privileged to chair, would be put on auto pilot. i suppose it comes as no surprise, i think that's a terrible mistake. the labor-h.h.s. bill or labor- h. as it's known in the terminology around here is how we fund the national institutes of health, the preeminent biomedical research entity in the world. this bill is how we fund the childcare and development block grant which gives working families access to high quality childcare. it's how we provide federal funding to teach students with disabilities, individuals with disabilities education act. it's how we help local school
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jurisdictions meet their constitutional obligation to provide a free and appropriate education. all kids, even kids with disabilities. these services are critical to this nation. it's been said before -- actually, the first person i ever heard say it was our recently departed and beloved chairman, senator dan inouye, who once said that the defense appropriations committee is the committee that defends america. the labor, health, human services and education committee is the committee that defines america. who we are as a country, what we're about as a people, what we're going to do for the future of our children in america. and so we need to examine every year whether we're spending the
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right amounts of taxpayer money for these services. now, if that makes sense for the defense appropriations bill to take a look at it yearly to see if we're spending the right things, the right amounts, if it's right for homeland security and agriculture, why shouldn't the same level of oversight be applied to the labor, health and human services bill? now, as a way of describing where we are, this past december, we negotiated a fiscal 2013 spending bill with republican and democratic counterparts house and senate, so i, senator shelby, congressman rehberg and congresswoman delauro on the
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house side all read this bill through in december and signed off on it. that was going to be in the omnibus bill. well, as we know, we did not have an omnibus spending bill, so the talks were bicameral and bipartisan. they were difficult talks, but we hammered out an agreement and we had a compromise. i got some of what i wanted and i lost some of what i wanted, but that's the nature of compromise around here. so with just an exception, which i will explain shortly, the amendment i have just offered is what was agreed upon in december. no more money. not adding any money. but we're changing some of the accounts to better represent what we decided both bicameral and bipartisan should be priorities. that's the amendment i'm offering.
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again, i repeat, it is what we decided on in december in terms of what our priorities ought to be. if we just go with labor, h. and a c.r., all that's wiped out. so what i'm proposing to replace is that, the auto pilot version, with a detailed bipartisan compromise. now, i want to emphasize this point: this amendment is not my labor-h.h.s. bill. now, obviously if i had my druthers, i would have spent dollars like i want them to spend, but compromises don't work that way. this amendment included priorities from the other side of the aisle and from the other side of the capitol. it was give-and-take. but even though there are things in the amendment i'd like to change, it is vastly superior, vastly superior than putting all
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of these programs on autopilot and doing this year exactly what we did last year and the year before because we were on autopilot last year too. now let me just point out two things different in this amendment than what's in december. i said it was the same but there are two things different. the agreement that we hammered out in december with republicans and democrats in the senate, republicans and democrats in the house and appropriations committee included money for the affordable care act, for obamacare. this amendment that i'm offering today took that out. just took it out. even though we had agreed upon, i think, $513 million for that in december, this is not in my amendment. i want to make that clear.
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the second major difference between the december bill and this amendment is the total cost. as i said, the december bill wouldn't fit within our new budget cap, so we have a new budget cap since december. and so this amendment fits within that budget cap by a very small across-the-board cut of .0.17%. that is one-eighth of one percent to every program in the bill. i didn't do an across-the-board cut on some at the expense of others. we did it on everything. .127%, the programs that were cut in the december cut will still get cut they will just be
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cut by .127% more. that's all. but other than those two changes, no additional health reform money, no more other kinds of cuts. the amendment is basically identical to what we agreed upon in december. so i want to take a look at -- let's take a look at it and see why it's better than what i call the autopilot version or the continuing resolution. let's start first with education. title 1 is the corner stone federal program for helping all students, but especially those from disadvantaged background, helping them meet high academic standards. more than 90% of the school districts across america receive title 1 funds. my amendment, the ones before us, has $107 million more for title 1. what's in the bill before us has
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absolutely no increase. zero. now this will be the same. we're able to bump that up again by an amount equal to the .127%, as i said. but it's basically the same. that's title 1. special education, i mentioned idea. we have $125 million increase in the amendment that i'm offering. in the c.r., no increase whatsoever. national institutes of health, we're especially proud of this. the omnibus, the senate c.r. that's before us has a $71 million more than last year. this amendment bumps it up to $211 million. so, the c.r. has $71 million. we have $211 million for n.i.h. increase. child care, the underlying c.r. includes $50 million more than
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last year. my amendment would increase that to $107 million. that means child-care subsidies for working families of 10,000 additional children, families who basically depend upon this so they are able to go to work. aids drugs, the ryan white aids drugs assistance program provides lifesaving drugs to people living with h.i.v., my amendment includes $29 million more for this program. the c.r. has no increase whatsoever. so far i mentioned only some of the larger programs in the bill. my amendment addresses dozens of smaller priorities as well. at the full committee markup of the labor h. bill back in july of last year, senator inouye who was chairman at that time promised senator murkowski that the final fy 2013 spending bill
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would include $10 million for suicide prevention among alaska natives and native americans. i didn't make that promise, but it was made by the chairman of the committee. i'm honoring that promise, and i honored it when we negotiated this in december. and we included that $10 million, and that's in my amendment also. and, again, a small increase for suicide prevention just isn't possible in a c.r. but it's in my amendment. and if we approve it, that funding will become law. trio. the trio program, it is a program important to many members on both sides of the aisle. it has had broad support. the trio program makes the dream of a college education possible for low-income students. basically the students who are the first in their family to go to college. so if their parents haven't gone to college, they would be
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eligible for a trio, and again, based upon income levels. the bill that we negotiated in december included an increase for the trio program. again, that's not possible in a c.r. and the bill that's before us. but it's in my amendment. and if congress approves it, trio will get a $14 million increase this year. i just didn't have that on my chart. i could go on and on. there's a lot of things. food safety, lead poisoning screening for kids in this country. lead poisoning screening. diabetes prevention. worker safety. these are important priorities. they are all addressed in my amendment because we addressed those in december. but they're not in the bill before us. so, again, let me just sort of sum up what we have here in this amendment. it's the same total cost as
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what's in the bill before us. no additional money. it was a bicameral, bipartisan compromise that we hammered out in december. there is more money for n.i.h., child care, education; i mentioned things like trio, i mentioned things like idea and others. and i think it fulfills our constitutional duty to be good stewards of the public money to do adequate oversight on appropriations and to mold and shape, again, in a blat ra*t ral or -- in a bilateral, bipartisan, bicameral method, to work it out. there are some who say if we pass this, the house won't take it. i don't know why not. they agreed upon it in december. i don't mean the whole house, but the house appropriations committee under the chairmanship of chairman rogers agreed on this in december. it was all signed off on. so i don't know why they
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wouldn't accept it. they didn't put it in their bill when they sent it over here. okay, they didn't. there are some other things they didn't put in the bill when they sent it over here too. so i just think that it's incumbent on us to do our duty to make sewer that we -- to make sure that we look at these programs and decide where we want to bump some up. maybe some we want to cut down, some we want to modify. that's what we did in december. we finished in december. i think we started working on it back around july, if i'm not mistaken. we finally got it worked out in december. if we would have had an omnibus, we would have had all of this. i wouldn't be here today offering this amendment. so, again, i just -- to those who say if we had this, the house won't accept it. is that a reason for us not to
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do our duty? is that a reason for us not to do what is right, just and fair because someone says maybe the house won't take it? the house would have some serious explaining to do why they wouldn't take it since it was already in the december compromise that was reached. so, i would point out again that the defense bill -- the defense appropriations bill that's here is what they agreed upon in december. if that's the case, why can't we do labor h., and all the things we fund the same as what we had in december also. that's my basic point here. as i say, we did make a couple of changes. one change, we took out the funding for obamacare, which i think is a good deal. obamacare is something that we have to continue to implement. it's going to save us a lot of money. it's going to make lives better for people all over america.
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it already is making lives better for people with preexisting conditions, people with very intricate diseases and conditions that need to be managed. young people who are staying on their parents' policies until they're age 26. elderly who get their free health screenings every year under medicare. so it is already making a big impact. so i'm a big supporter of obamacare. the fact is we couldn't do that. that is no reason not to increase n.i.h. and child-care development block grants, idea, trio programs, a host of other things. ifif we can't do anything to
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implement obamacare, then at least let's do our duty and agree to meet the goals and meet the targets that we set in december in our negotiations. so, mr. president, we laid the bill down earlier. as i said, it's basically what we had in december. i am hopeful that senators and their staffs will take the time to look through it and see what's in there, because i think they'll come to this same conclusion. no more money, and what we have in the c.r., it is basically the same with the exceptions i mentioned as what we did in december. and that, we will have a better result, a better platform going forward the rest of this year and next year by not doing a
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c.r., but by doing this bill in a bill form, just as we've done for other bills in this appropriations measure. again, eufpt -- i want to thank our chair, chairwoman mikulski, for fighting so hard for this. i know she's done everything possible. again, sometimes it falls to an amendment that we have to do to get things done. i'm hopeful my friends on the other side of the aisle, again, will take a seer -- serious look at this and support this amendment. since, as i said, i see no real reason not to support it. i'd be anxious to see if someone has some arguments of why we shouldn't support this, since, as i said, we had hammered out this agreement over a long period of time last fall. you know, we always talked about how we want to work in a
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bipartisan fashion and we want to accept the results of that bipartisan negotiation. well, that's what we did last year. as i said, i think we started probably around july. we had an august break. so at least by september; probably started in july, september, october, november. by december we worked it out. in a very bipartisan fashion. as i said, i didn't get everything i wanted in the bill. and so if my friends on the other side of the aisle now just want to say no, they're not going to accept this, then what's the use of engaging in long, hard, difficult, strenuous bipartisan negotiations where you reach an agreement and then they say, well, we don't care, we're not going to support it anyway? i've taken great pride in
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working with my colleagues in a bipartisan fashion last year on the reauthorization of the food and drug administration bill, the drug user bill, drug safety bill. we worked long and hard on these for probably almost two, got it through. other bills that i've been involved in where we did good bipartisan negotiations and that was the same as this. this is not something that i rammed through or said, this is my bill and take it or leave it. i didn't do that. that's not the way i've operated. i've either been the chair of this subcommittee or ranking member since 1989. it is a great subcommittee because it meets the human needs, the social needs, the educational needs and, yes, the biomedical research needs and
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the disease control needs, because the center for disease control and prevention is also funded under our subcommittee. so it keeps the american people safe. the defense committee, they keep us safe from foreign entities, other entities that would want to do us harm militarily. homeland security, the same thing. what this committee does is it keeps us safe from diseases. it keeps us safe from -- from -- from illnesses. it -- it provides for the kind of research that has overcome so much in the last -- gee, the last 20, 30 years, the great strides we have made in cancer and other chronic diseases. we've made great strides because we've invested in those. that's what this subcommittee
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does. and it also provides for education, making sure that kids who come from the poorest families and the poorest areas, they also get a fair shake in education. it funds programs for students that go to college with their pell grants and their student loans. so it's incumbent on us i think that we just can't continue to have continuing resolutions on this kind of bill. times change, conditions change, circumstances change and we need to modify the bill and do things that recognizes some of the new realities and that's what we have done here. so i'm hopeful that we can get support for this, this amendment. i don't think it's really a heavy lift at all for anyone to support it. as i said, and i will repeat and
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repeat and repeat and keep repeating, there's not an extra -- no new money, no more than what's in the underlying bill. it's basically the same as what we hammered out in december through long negotiations. and hopefully maybe a little easier for my republican colleagues since there's not any money in there for the implementation of obamacare, something i didn't agree with but that's -- that's life and that's the compromises and things that one has to make around here. but the other stuff in this bill is vitally important to the health, the welfare, the education, safety of the american people. so i hope that -- that the amendment will pass. and i ask my colleagues for their support. and, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that an explanatory statement and a detailed funding table accompanying the amendment be included in the "congressional record." the presiding officer: without
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objection. mr. harkin: mr. president, i yield the floor. ms. mikulski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: mr. president, i wish to speak on the bill and comment on the amendment. first of all, i want to say to the gentleman from iowa how much i admire him and the fantastic job that he has done in behalf of the poor, people who didn't have health care, the disabled people who had no voice in washington. and i want you to know, i'm just so sorry that you're retiring. i -- i really am. you're neither shy nor retiring but i -- we're just -- because of the leadership role that you've played and the very pragmatic solutions you have come up with in -- over the years. if -- may i ask the senator, how long have you chaired the
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subcommittee on labor-h.h.s.? mr. harkin: first, before i respond specifically to the question, let me also repay in kind how proud i am of the senator from maryland and her long service here, now the longest serving woman in the history of the united states senate, and her devotion to the underprivileged, to those who lack a voice and a vote in the senate. there's no one who's been stronger for them than the senator from maryland. it has been a -- a pleasure of mine to work with the senator through all these years. i can honestly say, i don't remember any time we've ever really kind of disagreed on anything. we don't -- ms. mikulski: no, we sound like -- if i might comment back, we sound like two warhorses at the v.f.w. hall. the next thing, you know, if it wasn't prohibited, we'd be doing shooters on the senate floor.
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mr. harkin: [laughter] right. and i appreciate the senator's sentiments. one of the things that makes me feel comfortable about retiring is knowing that this committee is left in good hands, and i mean that, really good hands. to answer the senator's questi question, i've been either chair or ranking member of this subcommittee since 1989. so when the democrats were in charge, i was chair up until 1995, and then senator specter was chair from then until 2001, and then i became chair for about a year and a half or two there and then it went back to the republicans; then i picked it back up again in 2007. so since 1989 either chair or ranking member of this subcommittee. ms. mikulski: so that would be in 2014 your essentially diamond jubilee, 25 years? mr. harkin: yeah, about 25. ms. mikulski: yeah, we could
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exchange a lot of things about diamonds. mr. harkin: [laughter] ms. mikulski: but that will be quite a benchmark. and this is what i want to say. what we would like to do is return to regular order where you could have brought your bill to the floor all by itself, not in the midst of a threat of showdown, shutdown, lockdown, that you could have brought it up along with your ranking member. now you have the gentleman from kansas, senator moran. and that we have open public debate, transparent, going through category after category: education, special education, the funding for the national institutes of health, the department of labor, all of those things. your subcommittee is one of the most robust. other than defense, you're
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second in size and expenditure. but it funds the entire department of labor. the entire department of education and the entire department of health and human services. and under that, spectacular agencies. along with that, independent agencies like the social security administration, which is headquartered in literally my hometown of baltimore. so you have really almost i would say 40% of the domestic expenditures. and that which meets compelling human need and along with it funds the kind of programs that are our work force of the future. mr. harkin: work force. ms. mikulski: and our work force of the future. and you deserve to have your day. and anyone who wants to analyze it, scrutinize it, oppose it, amend it, improve it, both sides of the aisle should do this.
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so i say to the -- to my colleague, what i want to do is get this bill through the united states senate. working with my colleague, senator shelby, who i know was your ranking member the last years, who is so well versed on the content of the agreement. and that if we could essential essentially -- essentially the ideal thing would have been a regular order where we would have passed our bills before october 1. you could have been on the floor. but now we're in a -- something called a continuing resolution, a continuing funding resolution where the entire federal government is in one package, everybody's trying to parse it and understand it -- and they should. this is not the way to govern. and we shouldn't be threatened with these deadlines and kind of
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an ultimatum type situation. so we're going to try to make the best we can. the gentleman has made his point and done it robustly. he produced a great bill, along with senator shelby, in terms of coming out of the subcommittee. and then fashioned a -- not only great on content, on policy, on having a sense of getting value for the dollar as well, keeping an eye on that. but at the same time, working to fashion a bipartisan agreement. but you couldn't move the bill, and here now we're into this larger issue. well, my job is to get this bill through the united states sena senate, working with senator shelby. that's our job. but i want to say to both senator harkin, to all members on both sides of the aisle, we've got to get back to a regular order. we can't be doing big bills that nobody understands, everybody's
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suspicious of, and we need to be able to do this the way the founders of the appropriations committee wanted us to do, committee by committee, out in the open, full and ample debate, and where we could focus on the content. so when we bring commerce-justice-science, we can focus on the justice department, we can focus on federal law enforcement, we can focus on the science programs in there, we can look at labor-h.h.s. which has such an enormous impact on our economy and on the impact on our future economy. remember, research and development and the work force of the future through education, pell grants, all of the great things that are in this bill. so as the gentleman proposes this amendment and the senate works its will on this amendme amendment, i want to say let's
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get the job done, let's get the bill passed and then let's be able -- let's solve the sequester problem, which is draconian shield holding over us. let's get rid of brin brinksman, ultimatums, shutdown, showdown politics. let's get back to a regular order where we can produce bills, debate them in the full sunshine of the united states senate and that not only do we do a good job but the american people understand what we are doing. there are disputes on policy. that's called america. that's what a democracy is. that's what a parliamentary body is. but we should be able to agree on process and procedure and that means following a regular order with our legislation. so i want to thank the subcommittee chairman, senator harkin, for his advocacy, the way the last two years senator shelby and he have worked together to produce a really good bill.
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but we are where we are and i hope we can do all that we can to pass the bill and return to regular order. mr. shelby: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. shelby: madam president, i would be remiss while we're here on the senate floor, i was thinking about the -- senator harkin and senator mikulski, both senior members. and she's the chairperson of the senate appropriations committee, where i've had the privilege to serve for a number of years. we all go back to our house days. that's where i first met senator harkin. he was a couple years younger then, you know? so was i. and senator mikulski and i were on the same committees over there. senator harkin came to the senate a couple of years before we did but we've been involved on -- together on issues and
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against each other on issues and so forth, but we stay friends. and i think that senator harkin is absolutely right, senator mikulski's very on point on regular order, that what we're trying to do on the appropriations committee -- and this is a big start here -- is to go back the way we used to do things, regular order. we would have our spirited debates and they were spirited in the subcommittees, appropriations, the full committee, come to the floor, and we would debate it, vote on it, and go to conference with the house, work it out, come back and live with it. we haven't done that in a long time. what we're trying to do now is get back on that track, and this is a big first step. having said that, madam president, i would like to take just a few minutes to speak on chairman harkin's
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amendment. i believe there are three critical points that my colleague should understand about this amendment. first, the draft omnibus was never finalized that's been talked about. there were more than a dozen significant items not agreed to at the time negotiations ended in december. a lot of those negotiations were done at the staff level. critical decisions regarding health care, education, and labor policies and billions of dollars in funding decisions at that point remained undecided. there were -- they were never finalized. these provisions have been decided, i think, and put in this amendment without consultation by senator harkin. these items included such critical issues, that is, left them occupant, conscience provisions for health care providers and provisions
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limiting the job-killing rules by the national labor relations board. those were critical issues for us. second, the harkin amendment replaces a bipartisan continuing resolution that the distinguished chair person has been talking about for two days that includes key provisions in this bill that we filed that would support research at the national institutes of health and emergency operations at the centers for disease control with 160-page bill that no republican has approved, the harkin amendment. the harkin amendment i believe both begins new programs and makes authorization changes to programs. in addition, any program that did not receive an increase in funding during negotiations on the draft omnibus that he's talked about is cut -- is cut in an across-the-board cut. these reductions,
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madam president, hit critical job training programs and funding for hospital preparedness. finally, madam president, if this amendment is agreed to, the harkin amendment, it will undo a very fragile consensus and poison the entire continuing resolution that we've put before us, putting our government at risk of a shutdown. none of us want that. house leadership has already stated that they cannot and will not support the inclusion of the harkin amendment and i don't believe we should risk funding for the entire federal government to do so. madam president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the senator. excuse me. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. harkin: madam president, i just want to respond to my friend from alabama, he is my friend and he knows that very well. we travel together and our spouses are friends and he's a dear friend of mine. and we've worked together for going clear back to our house
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days. but i am disappointed that my friend opposes this amendment. i think if there is one thing that's been clear in my association with the senator from alabama through all these years is that he has been an unrelenting champion of n.i.h. research. i'm told the university of alabama, birmingham, ranks 11th in terms of n.i.h. funding. that's even who higher than the university of iowa, by the way. so my amendment as you know would put in $211 million increase for n.i.h. funding. that goes around the country. doesn't jt go to maryland, a lot of it goes around the country. so we did that. and then i would say to my friend from alabama, the negotiations last year, the senator from alabama offered an amendment during our full committee markup. that's last july.
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that would require the department of labor to delay both the wage rule and the comprehensive rule regarding h 2 v visas. i opposed the amendment. but i included it because it was, again, part of a bipartisan, bicameral agreement. the senator is right, this agreement was never signed off on on high, i guess by the speaker of the house or the majority or minority leader here in the senate, but usually they've been very accommodating if appropriations agree and -- agree on what we call the four corners, the four corners, republican house, democratic house, republican senate, democratic senate. that basically we would move those bills. so, again, this amendment that was offered by my friend from alabama that would require the department of to delay the wage
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rule and the rule regarding h2v amendments is in this amendment even though i oppose it because it was part of a bipartisan agreement. now, the only way this provision can take effect is by approving my amendment because it's not in the c.r. so my friend from alabama offered this amendment, i think he considered it to be important, he fought for it, but it won't take effect in a c.r. and so, again, i would also remind my friend and others that the cost of this amendment is the same as in the underlying substitute. now, my friend said that there were a lot of things in the bill in december that were not finalized. that is true. my friend, it's very true. that's very true. but these were called riders. some were republican riders, some were democratic riders. are they in this bill? no.
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because they weren't agreed to. they were there, but they were never agreed to. for good reason. some of them were obviously very closely held by democrats and some very closely held by republicans so there wasn't agreement. i'm saying in the amendment i now have, the amendment before us, are the things that we did agree on. so the senator is right, some of the things that were out there on the riders we didn't include because they simply were not agreed to in december. i'm just saying that what's in this bill is what we did agree to in december. with that i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: thank you, madam president. i ask unanimous consent to call off the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. vitter: thank you. i also ask unanimous consent, madam president, to speak as if in morning business for up to 20 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. vitter: thank you, madam president. madam president, this week, march 10-16, has been designated sunshine week, and what a better time for it this year because the obama administration, president obama, has a brand-new nominee to head the environmental protection agency,
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and that agency is in desperate need of sunshine and transparency. and so in the midst of sunshine week, i wanted to talk about these very, very serious issues. first of all, let's go back a little bit. the first day president obama took office in 2009, the white house web site declared that his administration would become -- quote -- "the most open and transparent in history." close quote. and the president issued high-profile orders pledging -- quote -- "a new era" and -- quote -- "an unprecedented level of openness" across the federal government. now those are great goals and great aspirations. unfortunately, the record, particularly as i said, at the e.p.a., is a whole lot different. president obama's e.p.a. has earned a reputation for ignoring congressional information requests, for ignoring and frustrating foia, freedom of information act, requests.
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for hiding e-mails, completely contrary to e.p.a. policy. and for hiding other important information from the public. it's in desperate, desperate need of a new leader who will reverse these antisunshine, antitransparency practices and build a true culture of transparency and openness. unfortunately, president obama's nominee, gina mccarthy, comes from inside the very troubled agency, and she's been directly involved in many of these problem areas. and so that's why i think we in particular need to talk about these concerns. i want to go through four important categories where the e.p.a., including during gina mccarthy's service, has exhibited a complete lack of transparency. exactly the opposite of sunshine, openness, and
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transparency. first of all, e-mails and the growing e-mail scandal. a lot of e.p.a.'s troubles have surfaced through their dubious e-mail practices. e-mail practices that have been used, in my opinion, clearly to circumvent transparency laws like foia and to circumvent congressional oversight. we've uncovered the use of alias e-mail accounts and private e-mail accounts to conduct official agency business. now what is the issue there? the issue is that clearly this is a way to avoid transparency, to avoid these being produced through foia requests, to try to avoid producing these important e-mails when congress asks for them and to keep the public and congress in the dark. the most infamous example of this is lisa jackson, the former e.p.a.'s administrator's complete disregard for transparency through her richard
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windsor e-mails. richard windsor was an alias, and i think clearly in my opinion, she used this alias to make it obvious when it came to openness, producing documents, et cetera, that this wasn't necessarily her. as it turns out, multiple e.p.a. officials had been conducting agency business through aliases or through private e-mail accounts. and these private e-mail accounts was absolutely prohibited by the e.p.a. and yet, with uncovered -- we've uncovered a pattern of this, not an isolated incident, not just richard windsor as an alias, but a pattern of this, including the acting administrator using an alias and a private account, including region 8 administrator martin using, a private account; region 9 administrator
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blumenthal; former deputy counsel yang, a lawyer for the e.p.a., using a contract, all completely contrary to the clear rules of the e.p.a. but it doesn't stop with the use of these completely improper private e-mail accounts for official business. we've also uncovered high-level officials collaborating with environmental groups to push their biased agenda. administrator martin, since he resigned over all of this, when we had this come out, regularly communicated with far-left environmental groups like the environmental defense fund on his personal e-mail account to circumvent federal transparency laws. and his personal laws which have since gotten exposed, the e.p.a.'s efforts to further bury coal plants under crushing regulations. so again, this isn't just some technicality. this is clearly the use of these
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private accounts and aliases to hide stuff from congress, to hide stuff from the public to try to not disclose all of this collusion with outside environmental groups whapbd really, in -- and what really, in my opinion, is a far left agenda. another very important category is foia. now, foia is the freedom of information act, and it was passed into law by congress in 1966, and it was for a very simple purpose. to direct sunshine on to the federal government. here we are in the middle of sunshine week, and foia is a classic example of an important tool to direct sunshine on to the federal government. but under former administrator jackson's leadership, foia has become a joke at the e.p.a. in fact, al armen daras, the
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regional administrator who had to resign after claiming it was e.p.a. policy to with -- quote -- "crucify" domestic businesses, he actually called foia -- quote -- "nonsense" close quote. unfortunately, al armendaras wasn't some rogue e.p.a. official as others at e.p.a. would try to have you think. this in fact is the general attitude of the e.p.a. the obama administration again has tried to get away with this claim that their -- quote -- "the most transparent in history." and yet as the associated press has reported, yes, they sometimes produce a lot of pieces of paper under foia, but -- quote -- "more often than it has ever has, it cited legal exceptions to censor or withhold the material according to a new analysis." so this is a perfect example. this is a document produced
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under a foia request. it's one of the infamous richard windsor e-mails. and guess what is produced? nothing. i mean, it's one thing to redact a few words, a particular sensitive sentence. what is produced? nothing. absolutely nothing could be produced. no single word from the body of the e-mail. this is routine. e.p.a. has regularly mismanaged foia requests. it's clearly in the business to frustrate these sorts of requests, not to follow the law. let me show you some other examples. again, these are produced e-mails. most of them are some of the infamous richard windsor e-mails. again, not a word in the body of any of these e-mails produced. not a single word. another good example: not a single word produced. so you get plenty of paper.
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but what information do you get if you're the public? nothing. something which is particularly outrageous is an e-mail that was produced from the office of general counsel to region 6 officials. that e-mail talks about standard e.p.a. protocol regarding foia requests. so it's not about a particular foia request which might be overbroad, which might be inappropriate, which might have arguments against it. again, this e-mail is from the e.p.a. lawyers to an e.p.a. region, and it's about how to deal with foia in general. and that standard e.p.a. protocol, according to this e-mail, is -- quote -- "to alert the requester that they need to narrow their request because it is overbroad and secondarily that it will probably cost more than the amount of money they agreed to pay." close quote. and then when the requester
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doesn't immediately respond to that to just shut down any e.p.a. response. now, again, this is outrageous. this wasn't a response to a particular request. this was the advice from e.p.a. lawyers about how you should always consider response. just always say it's overbroad. just always say it's going to cost more money. and then shut things down and foot drag and obstruct. that is absolutely ridiculous. a third important category in this pattern of activity is e.p.a.'s use of secret data. this e.p.a., more than any other in history, has been promulgating rules and regulations which have a dramatic effect on major sectors of our economy. obviously this is a big deal, a big concern, particularly when it costs us jobs or potentially shuts down businesses. and yet, the e.p.a. has been
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completely opposed to releasing any of the numbers, the science, the alleged science, the data behind these decisions. again, many of e.p.a.'s regulations have big price tags, and yet, e.p.a. refuses to publicize the basic scientific data underlying virtually all of what they've done. the new clean air act rules is the biggest example. implementing the clean air act happens to be the responsibility, by the way, that gina mccarthy has been directly overseeing since june of 2009. the national ambient air quality standards, for example, are complex and they're sweeping. the law requires, as it should, that they be based on sound scientific data that, it be implemented through a robust decision-making process. but unfortunately, that hasn't been the case and recent standards have suffered from a
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rushed process, reliance on secret data and biased scientific review. but the only way we can really fully know what's going on and have a discussion about this is if e.p.a. releases the underlying scientific data, the underlying numbers. i've personally asked for this. tph-fbgs, this request -- in fact, this request is 20 months outstanding. i asked for it almost two full years ago. and yet, e.p.a. has adamantly refused. recently it's come to light that e.p.a. fails to complete comprehensive economic analyses of a majority of its rules. a february 2013 study reveals that the agents' disregard for economy-wide impacts as well as many other discreet negative impacts renders their cost-benefit analysis to be misleading and based on manipulated data. so again, this is a very important category.
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if sunshine is to mean anything, if it is to have any real meaning as we stand here in the midst of sunshine week, we need to see the data behind these enormously important decisions. and e.p.a. can't use secret data. that is contrary to the letter and spirit of the law. it's certainly contrary to the public having access to important information and to our responsibility in congress on oversight. the final category i wanted to mention is the so-called unified agenda. under federal law, madam president, every agency is required to produce their regulatory agenda. in fact, they're required to produce it under law twice a year. once in the spring, once in the fall. that's called the unified agenda. and again, every agency is required to produce that to the office of information and
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regulatory affairs. now, the problem is this requirement is observed sort of like the requirement to pass a budget is observed in the u.s. senate. in 2012, the e.p.a. was eight months late producing their spring 2012 regulatory agenda, and they have yet to submit their fall 2012 regulatory agenda. again, i've asked e.p.a. directly about this. more six weeks after the deadline passed, e.p.a. has yet to respond to the simple question of when they will submit their spring and fall regulatory agendas. we haven't seen a bit of either of them yet. this is important because it is about sunshine, openness, transparency. it is about being fair and open to the american people and giving the american people, including through its representatives in congress, full information.
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and this is an important area that the nominee to head the e.p.a., gina mccarthy, has to address. i mean, it's awfully basic. it's awfully legitimate to say to gina mccarthy, if you want to become the new e.p.a. administrator, you'll need to answer these big, obvious and pertinent questions, particularly since you come from inside this very troubled, completely nontransparent agency; particularly since you've been at the heart of many of these troubling areas. and one thing i'll question her directly on is her active coordination with al armendaras, who i mentioned earlier, in shutting down key energy projects. that direct coordination was highlighted in an e-mail we did get from armendaras celebrating the death of a petroleum plant in texas.
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armendaras wrote in that e-mail, gina's new air rules will soon be the icing on the cake, shutting down jobs, shutting down american business. and that's going to be the icing on the cake. madam president, in conclusion, i want to underscore, president obama's e.p.a., unfortunately, has been the worst example of how hollow his promise is of being the most open and trance parent administration in history and as we begin to consider the confirmation of a new e.p.a. administrator, this needs to be a big focus of our attention. because surely -- surely -- she needs to submit in very concrete, specific ways to change this culture. i'm concerned because she's been part of this culture. she comes from inside the agency. she is directly involved in l of these very troubling areas, and so we need to hear how she is
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going to reverse this culture and really usher in a new era of openness and transparency. i'll have specific requests for her that will allow her to prove that out, prove that commitment out or not. and i know many other members of the nas senate have similar key. so i look forward to that discussion with jena cak mccart. transparency week is an important time and an appropriate time to start that important discussion and to end these abusive practices by the current e.p.a. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. ms. mikulski: mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from smoant recognized. mr. tester: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. tester: i i rise to speak
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about the continuing resolution before the senate that's here to fund the government and keep this country moving forward. this is a very difficult assignment that they've been handed, especially as we have a brand-new chair and ranking member. the bill increases support for firefighters battling blazes out west. that's very good. maintains a critical safety net for women and children. very good. returns full funding to several critical conservation programs and reaffirms our commitment to veterans, especially rural veterans. all very good. and i want to thank senator jack reed and tim johnson in particular for those efforts in those areas. but while no bill is perfect, mr. president, i am deeply, deeply disappointed by two provisions that were slipped into this bill by the house of representatives when this deal was being cooked up in december. this is sunshine week for the federal government. it's time to highlight the need for greater transparency and openness so voters can hold
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their elected leaders accountable and for what happens here in washington, d.c. and to just know what's going on. i take transparency seriously. when i first ran for the senate sench years ago i campaigned on bringing more accountability to the leadership in washington, d.c. my first vote in this body was for a sweeping ethics bill that among other provisions improved disclosure rules and reformed the earmark process so everybody would know which member or members of congress requested an earmark. and it required members to certify that they and their families had no financial interest in that earmark. under regular order, folks had a chance to come down to the floor and try to remove earmarks they didn't like. in fact, a few years ago i remember former senator jon kyl and i had a pretty good debate on this floor about an important project for the city of white fish, montana. so we debated and we took a vote on it in the senate. and that is why i am so upset by two agricultural-related
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provisions someone from the house of representatives put into this bill and that the senate seems willing to accept. i don't know who authored this provision, maybe somebody in washington knows but no one is willing to put their name on it and that's a shame. it's a shame that folks who get so bent out of shape about earmarks did not seem to be troubled by these provisions. mr. president, montana is home to thousands of working families that make a living off the land. they're family farmers and ranchers. the house of representatives is prepared to toss those working families aside in favor of the nation's large meat packing corporations. the house inserted in a provision in the bill that gives enormous marketing power to america's three largest meatpacking organizations while stifg farmers and etch ranchers. family run agriculture, chicken farmers, cattle ranchers all struggle to get a fair price
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from the meatparkers. if they fight back, thanks to this provision, the agricultural department will not able to ensure fair open market that put the brakes on the worst abuses by the meatpacking industry. what's weapons inspectors is that the usda took congressionally mandated steps to protect ranchers from market manipulation over the last few years. that's what we told them to do. in the 2008 farm bill. and this provision will actually overturn rules that the usda has already put into place. but apparently intense behind the scenes lobbying won out in the house of representatives and now we're back to square one with the big meatpackers calling the shots. the second provision sent over from the house tells the usda to ignore any judicial ruling regarding the planning of -- planting of genetically modified crops. it's called the a farmer assurance provision but all it assures is a lack of corporate liability.
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the provision says that when a judge finds that the usda approved a crop illegally, that the department must reapprove the crop and allow it to continue to be planted regardless of what the judge says. let's think about that. the united states congress is telling the agricultural department even if you failed to follow the right process and tells to you start over, you must disregard the court's ruling and allow the crop to be planted anyway. not only does this ignore the constitutional idea of separation of powers, but it also lets genetically modified crops take hold across this country even when a judge finds it violates the law. once again, agribusiness, multinational corporations putting farmers at serfs. it's a dangerous precedent. it will paralyze the usda, putting the department in the middle of a battle between congress and the courts. and the ultimate loser will be our family farmers going about their business and feeding america in the right way. sunshine week shouldn't be a
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show and tell, mr. president. and slipping corporate giveaways into a bill at the same time we call for open government is doubling down on the same policies that created the need for sunshine week in the first place. that's why i've introduced amendments to remove these provisions from the bill. montanans elected me to go to the senate to do away with shady back room deals, and make government work better. we still have many challenges in front of us, and i commend the leaders of the appropriations committee for their commitment to working together to bring us on a plan we can vote but these two provisions undermine our good work to support family farm agriculture. these provisions are giveaways, pure and simple and will be a boon worth millions to a handful of the biggest corporations in the country. they deserve no place in this bill. we simply have got to do a better job on policy and process. i know chairwoman mikulski is committed to doing better and i strongly support her efforts and
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i want thank her for that commitment but we ought to start here and now by striking these corporate giveaways. with that i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: quorum call:
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mr. mccain: i ask unanimous consent further proceedings under the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. the senator from arizona is recognized. mr. mccain: i ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending amendment and call up amendment number 33. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. ms. mikulski: could the senator withhold, to the senator from arizona? mr. mccain: i yield to the chairman -- chairwoman. ms. mikulski: first of all, i know you've been waiting patiently to offer this amendment and i've been waiting patiently for you to be able to do it. as i understand it, we're trying to negotiate a sequence here to vote on the harkin amendment and for you to be able to offer your amendment as promptly and as swiftly as we can. and i say to the distinguished vice chairman of the committee, are -- could we -- mr. chairman, i note the absence of a quorum
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without violating the gentleman's rights. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. mccain: i ask that further proceedings under the quorum call be suspended and ask unanimous -- the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: consent to set aside the pending amendment and call up amendment number 33. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. the senior senator from arizona is recognized. the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from arizona, mr. mccain, proposes an amendment numbered 33. mr. mccain: i ask further reading of the amendment be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: mr. president, i come to the floor to talk about amendment number 33, which would strike sections 104 and 8039 of the bill. it's a pair of guam earmarks that directly contravene the explicit direction provided by the armed services committee of the senate and the house of representatives in the conference report on the fiscal year 2013 national defense authorization act. congress has not yet received a sufficient cost analysis of the proposed movement of the troops from okinawa to guam, and
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because of that and the whole operation of these troops from okinawa to guam has still not been decided, the armed services committees of the house and senate explicitly prohibited this type of premature investments in civilian infrastructure. at a time when the department of defense is facing the impact of sequestration, on top of the $487 million in cuts directed by the president, it's appalling. it's appalling and disgraceful. that the authorizing language would be directly circumvented by the authorizers. now, i want to read to my colleagues' benefit the language that after hours and hours of hearings, of amendments, of markup, of three weeks on the
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floor of the senate, the product stated -- quote -- "restriction on development of public infrastructure. if the secretary of defense determines that any grant, cooperative agreement, transfer of funds and other federal agency or supplemental funds available in fiscal year 2012 or 2013 under federal programs administered by agencies other than the department of defense will result in the development, including repair, replacement and renovation, conversion, improvement, expansion, acquisition, or construction of public infrastructure on guam, the secretary of defense may not carry out such grant, transfer, cooperative agreement, or subpoena menlts funding -- supplemental funding unless such grant transfer, cooperative agreement or supplemental funding is specifically authorized by law. by -- by law." so here is a clear language of the national defense authorization act directly
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contradicted by this continuing resolution. what in the world is the job of the authorizers if it is not to have the language adhered to? this -- at a time when the department of defense is facing the impact of sequestration on top of $487 million in cuts already directed by the president, the appropriators decided that we would spend $1 $140 million on guam. it's -- it's absolutely unbelievable, i say to my colleagues. now, let me tell my colleagues about the effect of sequester
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that's happening now. now, we're -- according to this line item in the appropriations bill, they will spend $140 million on a wastewater treatment plant on guam and another project. so we're going to spend $140 million on that. meanwhile, i say to my colleagues, here's what's already happened with sequester on the armed forces. the army -- cancels four brigade exercises at the national training center or joint readiness training center. the army -- reduced base operations by 30%. cancels half a year of helicopters and ground vehicle depot maintenance. stops post-war repair of 1,300
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vehicles and 17,000 weapons. reduces readiness of 80% of the army's nondeploying brigades. stops tuition assistance for all active and reserve soldiers. navy -- cancels several submarine deployments. reduces flying hours on deployed carriers in the middle east by 55%. steaming days by 22%. reduces western pacific deployed operations by 35%. nondeployed pacific ships lose 40% of steaming days. reduces middle east and atlantic med ballistic missile defense patrols. shuts down all flying for four of nine carrier air wings. nine to 12 months to restore normal readiness at two to three times the cost. cuts all major naval exercises. defers emergent repairs. cancels blue angel shows in third and fourth quarter.
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u.s.s. truman carrier deployment delayed indefinitely. i might say that deploit was to the middle east -- deployment was to the middle east, where the centrifuges are spinning. the u.s.s. eisenhower carrier deployment extended indefinitely. u.s.s. nimitz and u.s.s. bush carrier strike groups will not be fully ready for scheduled fiscal year 2013 deployments. air force -- likely prevent air force's ability to achieve the 2017 goal of being fully auditable. defer nonemergency facility requirements. reduce repairs by 50%. over 420 projects at over 140 installations across the air force. affects runway repairs and critical sustainment projects. delays planned acquisition of satellites and aircraft, including j.s.f. and s-130j which will increase the future cost of these systems. reduces flying hours for cargo, fighter and bomber aircraft. stops tuition assistance for all
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active and reserve airmen. marine corps -- and i hope my colleagues will listen to this -- commandant of the marine corps says by the end of this year, more than 50% of my combat units will be below minimal acceptable levels of readiness for deployment to combat. i repeat, the commandant of the marine corps says, "by the end of this year, more than 50% of my combat units will be below minimal acceptable levels of readiness for deployment to combat." unable to complete rebalancing of marine corps forces in the -- to the asia-pacific region. will cause 55% of the united states marine corps forces to have unsatisfactory readiness ratings. 50% of the united states marine corps aviation's squadrons will fall below ready-to-deploy status. the united states marine corps
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will not be able to accomplish planned reset of equipment returning from overseas expeditionary forces. depot level maintenance will be reduced, delaying resettability by 18 months and reducing readiness of nondeployed forces. facilities sustainment will be funded at 71% of requirement, reducing effectiveness of home station training and quality of life. now, these are the effects of sequestration and so what do they do? what do they do in the continuing resolution? they add $140 million for guam for a wastewater treatment plant. talk about divorced from reali reality. talk about insensitivity to the men and women who are serving this country. and i'm already beginning to hear from them, i'll tell you that, mr. president. you know, there's a lot of bright young men and women who are serving this country and are serving it with the courage and
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skill and with the best probably we've ever seen. and i'm hearing from their leaders, they're making decisions about whether to stay in the military or not. it's an all-volunteer force. and i can tell you what a lot of them are deciding. and when they see something as ridiculous as this -- and there's other outrageous and stupid things in this bill. while all of the things that are taking place in the air force, the army and the marine corps, we are now on this list, we are -- have $5 million -- they're adding, adding money -- adding millions -- in fact, it comes up to billions -- $5 million for the national guard youth challenge program, $5 million for the department of defense star base youth program, $154 million for an army, navy and air force -- quote -- "alternative energy resource initiatives." $18 million for unspecified -- quote -- "industrial
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preparedness." $16 million for parkinson's disease research. and there's a whole bunch in here for medical research, and they're taking it out of defense. i'm for research in all these -- all these programs, whether it be parkinson's or neurofibro mitosis or hiv-aids research, but they're -- they're taking it out of defense $9 million for unspecified radar research. $20 million for university research initiatives. $7 million for civil air patrol program increase. $45 million for impact aid. the list goes on and on and on. the civil air patrol gets a $15 -- while the air force is unable to fly, the civil air patrol will get an additional $15 million. now, i'm a great admirer of the civil air patrol, but the fact is that what we're doing is we're cutting the flying hours and affecting the readiness of
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the men and women who are serving in this country -- serving in the military in this country. i repeat, the commandant of the marine corps -- "by the end of this year, more than 50% of my combat units will be below minimal acceptable levels of readiness for deployment to combat." and what does the appropriators do? they put in $140 million for a wastewater treatment plant on guam, which is expressly prohibited by the national defense authorization act. i have been on this floor for many years fighting against what i believe is encroachment by appropriators on the authorizors ' business. i have never in 26 years as a member of the defense authorization committee of the defense of the -- of the armed forces committee seen anything quite as egregious as this. i say to my colleagues who are
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authorizers, not appropriators, if you let them get away with this, if you let them get away with this, directly violating and contradicting the express language of the national defense authorization act, then you're next. then you're next. this is unacceptable. i hope that my colleagues will vote not only on the issue of whether we need to spend this money particularly at this moment when the condition of our military -- and by the way, a lot of my constituents say why is this being so hard hit? why is the military being so hard hit? and you know what? they don't quite understand that sequester, this thing that the president said won't happen, this sequester affects 19% of what we call the discretionary
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spending. they exempted about two-thirds of all of the discretionary spending and then took 50% of what was left of 19% of the spending. so you have a dramatically increased effect on what we need most, and that's our national security, and it's shameful. it's shameful. so i hope that my colleagues and friends will know that this is is -- the guam provision would provide -- which is expressly prohibited would provide $120 million for a public regional health laboratory and a civilian waste water improvements. the department of defense wants to move marines to guam but does not know how much military infrastructure will be needed, military infrastructure will be needed to support the move, what
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the implications will be to operational responsiveness in the pacific theater or how much any of it will cost. over the last two years, the armed services committee received many hours of testimony, briefings and meetings on the troop realignment in the pacific and directed the center for strategic and international studies to conduct an independent assessment on u.s. force strategy in the region. that assessment delivered in august, 2012, recommended a better alignment of engagement strategies between the u.s. pacific command and the department of defense in order to improve our capabilities in the region and respond to a range of contingencies. the csis was clear in the appraisal that the department of defense had not -- quote -- "adequately articulated the strategy behind its future posture planning nor aligned the strategy with resources in a way that reflects current budget realities. after more testimony, briefings
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and meetings, the armed services committee acted and through the vehicle of the fiscal year 2013 national defense authorization act prohibited the use of funds for any military realignment to guam until the department of defense and the u.s. pacific command provided a detailed set of reports. these reports will address the plan for ensuring that any proposed force realignments in the pacific region to include moving u.s. marines from japan to guam and hawaii are supported by resources that will allow our forces to meet operational requirements. admiral lockleer, commander of the u.s. pacific command, told me yesterday that these reports would be ready this summer. so the department of defense has planning left to do. while congress may someday authorize some number of marines to be realigned to guam, it will only be after we have a clear understanding of the operational implications and costs. in this context, the
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appropriations committee would fund unrequested civilian infrastructure, not military infrastructure, mind you, civilian infrastructure far greater in scope than would be required in the event that the most extreme estimates of troop realignment occurred. there is absolutely no justification for it. that's why the armed services committee expressly prohibited such funding because we don't know how much military or civilian infrastructure we may need, if any. as one single marine, sailor or airman been assigned to gammas part of the intended buildup that would justify using department of defense money to rebuild guam's civilian waste water facilities or build a new civilian health laboratory? the answer is obviously no. this is a pork-barrel payoff to guam solving an already existing problem that has nothing to do
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with any future military realignment to guam. this is no better than last year's set of earmarks for a cultural artifacts repository. it should be very clear by now these expenditures push through in direct contravention of the bipartisan, bicameral decisions of the armed services committee are a shameful waste of taxpayers' money, and in my view a clear example of political abuse of the appropriations process. so i could go on for a long time. in fact, we should be as we speak instead of doing a continuing resolution, we should be doing everything we can to avoid the sequester which is -- has such a disastrous effect on our military. i am sure that my colleagues are aware that in tehran, the centrifuges are spinning.
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north korea has just had another nuclear test. they have threatened to cancel the cease-fire of 1953. they are making very aggressive nerves towards south korea and our, i believe, 30,000 men and women who are stationed there. tension between japan and china is very high. and by the way, for my colleagues' information, i'm sure they know that the chinese have increased and doubled and redoubled their spending on the military. and in the middle east -- and the middle east is in a state of turmoil that could lead to an international crisis almost at any moment. 70,000 syrians have been slaughtered by bashar assad. over a million refugees, as that conflict shows all possibilities of spreading to lebanon and to jordan. so what are we doing? what are we doing?
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we're imposing draconian cuts on the united states military that causes the commandant of the marine corps to say that 50% of all his combat units will be below minimal acceptable levels of readiness for deployment to combat. i have been around this body and this nation for a long time, and i have seen this movie before. everybody talks about war weariness. everybody talks about how weary we are of iraq and afghanistan, and indeed we are. we were war weary after vietnam, and we cut the military and we cut the military and we cut the military, as we are doing today, and the chief of staff of the united states army in the late 1970's came before the armed services committee and said we have a hollow army. do you know what we are doing right now? do you know what we are doing right now with sequestration? we are hollowing out our military. and to add insult to injury, we are putting on a long list of
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wasteful, unnecessary programs which -- many of which have nothing to do with defending this nation, and some of which are outright just pork-barrel spending. so i hope that my colleagues, particularly those on authorizing committees, will understand that if the appropriators are able to directly contradict the language and authorization which is passed by both houses of congress and signed by the president of the united states, then you become irrelevant to the process. and i don't think the 80-so of us -- i believe it's around 80, that are not members of the appropriations committee should be subjected to irrelevance. i urge my colleagues to support the amendment. mr. president, i yield the floor. ms. mikulski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senior senator from maryland is recognized. ms. mikulski: mr. president, i just want to say that the
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senator who currently now chairs the subcommittee on defense will come to speak on the senator from arizona's amendment. i just want to speak about the process and about sequester. first of all, the subcommittee on defense appropriations finished its work -- finished its work before the august recess. excuse me. the senate defense appropriations finished its work in august. the authorizers didn't get it done until december 20. so there is a gap here because senator inouye working -- a very happy and beloved and blessed
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memory, moved his committee in a expeditious way, which appropriators are supposed to do. remember, appropriations, they are supposed to be done before october 1. senator inouye both chaired the committee -- chaired the full committee and then chaired this subcommittee on defense appropriations. senator inouye did his job under the authorization that was present before him. the authorizers department pass their bill -- didn't pass their bill until december 20. so we want to respect the authorizers not only on defense but on every committee, but they have to pass their bills before we pass ours. we work on our bills by holding our hearings under regular order, starting when we get the president's budget. i must admit the president, we wish it would be up-tempo a bit.
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and then we mark up our bills in may and june and begin to move them through the process. so before we attack the appropriations committee, we should attack the process and get back to regular order where authorizing and appropriating are in sink. the second -- are in sync. the second thing i want to comment on, the second thing i want to comment on is sequester. i want to acknowledge what the senator from arizona said about the impact of sequester. sequester is an awful, awful, awful thing. that is not on this bill. when the budget committee comes up and the negotiations by the president with the leadership of the house, i absolutely agree with them that we have to cancel sequester and make sure that not
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only our defense department but others who defend america like border patrol guards are also not unduly harmed, the hollowing out. his quotes from general amos, an extraordinary commandant. so what we need to do is get our process in order so we can have the proper policy debates. so, mr. president, i'm going to yield the floor. i note that the subcommittee chairman now, senator durbin, who has taken this over, will comment on the specifics. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the assistant majority leader is recognized. mr. durbin: let me thank the chairman of the appropriations committee, senator mikulski, of maryland. this is her first major assignment on the floor of the united states senate, and it's an awesome responsibility. those of us who have been privileged to serve with her know that she is not only up to this job, she was made for this job. she has the skill and knowledge and the drive that we need to
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make sure the appropriations committee is playing its important historic role in the senate, and i want to commend the senator from alabama, my friend senator richard shelby. senator shelby and senator mikulski have been close partners in developing a very complicated bill. this bill we're considering is going to fund the federal government for the remaining seven months, and otherwise when we run out of money -- i think the date's march 24 -- literally, the government will close. but they are working and have worked hard for the last several weeks to get this bill ready. a version of the bill passed the house. now it's being considered on the floor of the senate. and senators are being allowed to offer amendments, which is their right. one of the senators who just offered an amendment was senator john mccain of arizona. well known to virtually everyone in america as a former candidate for president and by virtue of his service to our nation. i would say i count john

U.S. Senate
CSPAN March 13, 2013 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT


TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 37, America 25, Ms. Mikulski 25, Mr. Brown 22, Mr. Durbin 21, Harkin 15, Florida 14, Maryland 11, United States 11, Foia 10, Alabama 10, Obamacare 10, Madam 9, Mr. Harkin 9, Mikulski 8, Mr. Mccain 8, Iowa 6, Washington 6, Mr. Inhofe 6, Shelby 6
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